Ralph Karnuah, a senior at Brighton High School, believes in natural beauty. “I think it enhances your looks, but there are girls with short hair that are just as beautiful as girls with long hair,” says Karnuah. The style or length of your hair definitely defines your appearance. Seventeen-year-old Walae Hayek, from Brighton High, feels that the length of a female’s hair is a style statement. “Some girls may seem way more attractive with longer hair,” says Hayek. “Also, the public perception favors long-haired girls into seeming more girly.” Joshua Morancie, 17, from Brighton High, thinks presenting hair in a fashionable way identifies one’s looks more than how long it is. “It’s how they groom it,” Morancie says. Karnuah says there’s too much emphasis put on locks these days. “I think it is ridiculous,” he says, “to go out with someone based on the length or style of their hair.”
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Eighteen-year-old Nathaniel Budwah, from Dorchester, prefers Rugby over Polo. “What’s more unique about Rugby is the bright colors that stand out,” said Budwah. While both Polo and Rugby once competed for customers under the Ralph Lauren label, he company announced that it was ending the Rugby line this year. Rugby clothing is still available online at places like eBay. Rugby was considered the edgier shirt, often marked by skull and crossbones; Polo more upscale and preppy, identified by a man on a horse. “Rugby is out of business,” lamented 17-yearold Stephan Durrant, of Dorchester. Jalisa Long, 18, knows a trend when she sees one -- even one that has reached the end of the line. “Popularity is not everything, but popularity is fashion and where you get it from,” says Long, who attends Jeremiah E. Burke High School. “For teens, it’s all about dressing cute, either for school, work, or going to parties with your friends.”
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Zusex Romero, 17, of Boston Community Leadership Academy, has advice for teens who are not comfortable living with their stepparents: “Don’t worry. You can leave when you are 18. But to look at the positive side, they are not mean because they took you into their home to raise you and provide what you need as a young adult.” These days, an increasing number of teens are finding themselves living with a stepmother or stepfather. Often, conflicts ensue. Sara Mendez, 17, from BCLA, says her parents are together. Still, she sees the value of having a stepparent step in. “I think it’s good to have them if one of the parents is missing,” says Mendez, “because the children might find support…or look upon them as role models.”
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"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one." -- novelist C.S. Lewis

Nedjie Thompson, 17, believes that a guy and a girl can just be best friends with no feelings.

“Having a girl as a friend and having a guy as a friend have their pros and cons,” says Thompson, who attends the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science. “Some girls can have better connections with other girls, since they have someone to talk to about the same thing, and maybe they can relate more to you. Still, having a guy as a friend can be helpful because they can actually listen and everything you talk about is new to him.” There are girls who think that they cannot have friends of the same gender since they may be jealous. Others think that a friendship between a guy and a girl cannot exist, that one may catch feelings for the other. Kristiana Mbrice has a best friend who is a girl. “Since my best friend is the same gender as me, and I have never had a boy best friend, I would say that stronger friendships exist between two people with the same gender,” says Mbrice, a senior at Boston Community Leadership Academy. Wendy Zheng, a junior at the O’Bryant, says that she’s had best friends who are guys and best friends who are girls. “When you are sad and you just want to talk about your emotions and other things that are bothering you, your girl friends always will support you and talk you through,” says Zheng. Meanwhile, she says, “Some guys are trustworthy and they could keep secrets.”
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Miesha Lopes Tavares, 14, from the Dever-McCormack School, is direct when telling a friend she needs space. That happens, she says, when a person is being fake or she is tired of arguing or she has too much going on inside her head. “I have trust issues,” she says. Asking others for space is something some teens have trouble doing, believing it could shatter a friendship. Marlene Jondoh, 16, from Charlestown High School, says she would be delicate -- telling a friend that she loves to hang out but sometimes needs to be alone. At those times, Jondoh says, she would go to her room to listen to music or read a book. Kripa Thapa, 16, from West Roxbury Academy, says that if she wanted some breathing room she would let people know something was up. “I would tell them to leave me alone or I would just stop talking to them,” Thapa says. Then she would go into a dark room and put on some music.
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