Eighteen-year-old Angelica Ortiz laments the lack of consistent outward love at home.

“My parents now show affection only when something good or bad happens,” says Ortiz, who goes to Boston Community Leadership Academy. As teens get older, they start to realize the importance of affection. At the same time, some parents are pulling back on showing that emotion. “Affection is needed because it’s part of communication,” says Rodell Pires, a senior at BCLA. Teens say that they feel closer to their parents when they feel that warmth. “Parent affection,” says Ronnie Brown, 16, from Excel High School, “makes the relationship stronger.”
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School time relationships don’t make the grade

Victoria Johnson, a sophomore at Dorchester Academy, says she’s been in a relationship for nine months and has her priorities set.

“My relationship is more important than school and my grades are not that good because I don’t pay attention,” she says. School grades are affected by many outside influences. Relationships are a big item. Hamilton McFerson, a 15-year old from Dorchester Academy, has been in a relationship for four months. “My relationship stresses me out and I can’t focus in school,” says McFerson. “My grades are really affected by my relationship. I put more into my relationship than school.” Not so for Genesyss Oller, 15, from Madison Park High School. “I honestly think my grades are good because I focus more on my school work,” she says, “And I’m not worried about boys.”
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Honesty is the best policy, right? So what happens when you tell the raw truth? Do teens prefer to be told straight up or hide behind the little white lies?

Aahkeilah Rogers, 19, from Dorchester, says she would rather have a friend be honest with her. “At the end of the day,” she says, “a friend is going to have your best interest at heart.” Mikayla Willingham, 15, from Dorchester, knows that telling the truth sometimes is hard, and that you are considered shady if you are dishonest and do one thing but come back and tell your friend another thing. “The word fake is used too often,” Willingham says. Daquan Lee, 16, from Roxbury, cherishes hearing the truth from a friend rather than finding out from others. “Telling the truth is something that can be either appreciated or declined,” says Lee. “You can’t live your life in lies.”
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Arvonne Patterson, 17, knows that the truth can hurt. “If you listen to people’s opinions, sometimes you can lack self-confidence,” says Patterson, who goes to Madison Park High School. We live in a world where everyone weighs in on everything and people let everybody get to them. Kaylan Williams, 18, from Brighton High School, says that there are millions of opinions out there and that not everyone will have a positive one of you. Sherri Cajuste, 17, from Roslindale, says she used to let people’s views bother her. “Then I realized who I was and that their opinions did not matter,” says Cajuste. “It also made me realize that I had a purpose before anyone else had an opinion.”
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For Rachel Kelleher, 15, from Boston Latin Academy, seeing her little brothers crack up makes her glad.

“Hearing little kids laugh just makes you happy automatically,” says Kelleher. “How can a kid laughing not make you happy -- they are bodies full of joy.”

There are many different things that can give you this fuzzy feeling inside and put a sweet smile on your face. Celeste Gonzalez, 15, from BLA, says that hearing about positive things going on around her brings her joy. “It’s something good and positive that is happening in this world or in my life and everyone needs good news in their life,” says Gonzalez. “That is what keeps them going.” Deysi Gutierrez, 15, from Fenway High School, says that living without restrictions makes her feel great. “Having freedom makes me happy,” she says, “being able to go out whenever I want with no worries.”
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