Cover Story
Utopia
Bloody beheadings, rampaging diseases, unprovoked police killings of black men. No wonder teens are pondering the potential of the perfect paradise. Adults, too – briefly, there was a new Fox TV reality series called “Utopia.” For Casiana Demosthene, 15, from West Roxbury Academy, the ideal place seems simple. “A perfect society is a society that consists of friendly people and lovely houses. Like beautiful houses that are only $100 each!” says Demosthene. “And we would have jobs that pay us a lot of money so we can support our families without any struggle.” Crystal Bautista, a freshman at West Roxbury Academy, has another vision. “A perfect society would have to be a place where no one feels threatened or afraid; a place where there is no violence or murders,” says Bautista. “And there needs to be respect for one another.” Shahaida Robinson, a freshman at West Roxbury Academy, can see the idyllic wonderland out there on the horizon. “Free food, no killing or violence in any areas; no gunshots should be heard at any point of the day or night,” says Robinson. “It’s too bad that we don’t have stuff like that today. Life would be so much easier and less stressful if there wasn’t anything to worry about.”

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I felt butterflies in my stomach. I heard the voices of the teachers welcoming students to Boston Community Leadership Academy. I listened to the swarm of teens talking about their summers, and how long it’s been, and the new things they all got. I walked through the caf trying to find an empty table, wobbling with my huge backpack filled with nearly $50 worth of supplies that I later learned were mostly unnecessary. Ugh. I sat at a table with my friend Jasmine, both of us awkwardly looking around and trying to adapt to this new environment. As time passed, a lot of people from my middle school entered the caf. And when I say a lot, I mean A LOT. There were two tables dedicated to just McCormack kids. It was nice the first week. Like everyone sticking together. But then I realized that this wasn’t going to last very long; it was only the beginning. I would have to make new friends to survive the next four years.
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Linh Vu, a junior at the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science, believes that horror movies have gotten rather repetitive in recent years, and that he doesn’t get the same thrill he used to from them. “It feels like Hollywood has gotten rid of all the good writers,” Vu says. When you research horror movies released in the last 10 years, a plot pattern emerges. Possessed: the state of being controlled by a demon or spirit. Now, it’s not hard to understand why this has become a common trend in horror movies, seeing as how demons are associated with evil and impurity. However, this device has gotten redundant. As have the basic outlines of the gory stories. A nice family moves into a new home. The have a little boy or girl who is a very sweet child. A few days after they move in, the kid claims to see things, or starts acting strangely. The formulaic setup dispels any tension since we have seen the story run through so many times. Angela Lei, a junior at the O’Bryant, has had enough. “I hope this dry spot of creativity,” says Lei, “will stop soon.”
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I've been absolutely obsessing over August Alsina, an up-and-coming R&B singer, since his performance at the BET Awards in June. His music speaks the truth. He’s not like other artists who go on about love, sex, and money. He sings about growing up in poverty and selling drugs to get by. He talks about the death of his older brother and the effect it had on him. You can feel his pain through  the music. “Real talk when I heard who it was, heart damn near stopped,” he sings in “Downtown.” “Somebody done killed my brother.” My skin crawled when I heard that. During the summer, I learned that Alsina was coming to Boston in September. As soon as I got my paycheck, I bought  a ticket. This would  be my first concert  ever. September  13 finally arrived. As I entered  the House of Blues with my friends, I was pumped. When Alsina came out, I thought my ear drums were about to burst. I was amazed as he stood there before me. During the song “Kissin’ On My Tattoos,” he reached down and connected with the crowd. He grazed my hand. My friends were extremely jealous that I was the one he touched.
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Jaseia Monteiro believes that feeling good about yourself is not bad except when done in a way to put somebody down. “It’s not fair,” says Monteiro, 13, from Dorchester. “I honestly feel our society is now a place where showing off is like having to eat breakfast every day.” Overall, the gap between rich and poor continues to widen. According to a September article on wsj.com, income of the wealthiest 10 percent of US families rose from 2010 to 2013 while income of the bottom 40 percent dropped during that time. Christine Chung, 17, from Dorchester Academy, saw a hungry, homeless man in her local corner store one day. He was desperate and tapped a woman on her shoulder. She turned around and started yelling at him about how expensive her blazer was and how he would not have the money to replace it, Chung says. “I felt so bad for him because all he wanted was something to eat,” Chung says. When this life is over, some teens say, it won’t matter whether you are rich or poor. As Dorchester Academy senior Bintou Conte says: “There’s no Mercedes in heaven.”
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