Caitlyn Undag, 15, from the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science, rides public transportation daily and does not like the recent rise in MBTA fares. “It was already high enough,” she says during the summer. “Teens and adults are already struggling to earn money and raising the prices won’t help them.” On July 1, fares rose by 10 cents, to $1.60 for buses and $2.10 for subways. In the summer, teens free school day passes stopped working – as they will on weekends when school resumes and fares are half price. Teens might have to retreat from certain activities as they did in summer. Undag says the transport costs stopped her from going to her usual tea-house destinations this summer. Coliea Turner, 16, from the O’Bryant, rode the T often this summer and says a lot of her money went toward fees. “By the end of the week, I am broke,” Turner says. Turner says she did not go to the downtown movie theatre like she used to. “Due to the bus fares, it’s taking away my money from buying the movie ticket itself,” Turner says. Kianah Moss, 15, meanwhile, thinks that the T prices are reasonable. “They only raised the prices by 10 cents,” says Moss, who goes to the O’Bryant. “So if I could pay $2 for the train, I could pay $2.10.”
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I’m Goth. I’m also part of JROTC, Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps. At first glance, that might seem like an unlikely pairing. But upon closer inspection, there’s more in common than meets the eye. I became Goth in sixth grade. I was attracted to the movement because I was getting bullied and it was a way to carve my own identity. Today, it means I wear dark clothing, I listen to heavy metal, and I stand out from others. I joined JROTC in ninth grade. At first, it was mandatory. But then I decided to stick with it. I liked that I was with people who would accept me for who I am. I liked being part of the marksmanship team. And, oddly enough, I enjoy wearing the camo uniform. When I first applied for this summer job, I was skeptical that I would get it. When I walked into the Boston Globe for my interview, I was in full Goth gear: black pants and black-and- white skeleton hoodie. We were told via email not to dress professionally but to come the way you do all time. That’s what I did and I honestly thought I would not get the job. Then, a couple of weeks later, I read my email and I found that I got the job. That made me happy because it means that they looked passed the fact that I am different and decided to give me a chance. At work, people were cool with me. I’m now back in school, have returned to JROTC, and remain Goth. While both are wildly different – Goth is rebellious and JROTC is ultra-conforming – each subculture has its own values and its own uniform, of sorts. They are more alike than you’d think.
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Abby Davila, 17, says she got her belly button and tongue piercings at 16 by a close friend without the permission of her mother. She feels as though teens should be able to get piercings without parental OKs as a way of expressing themselves, and professionals are just too expensive. Davila did not think about the dangers that come along with unprofessional piercings and says she faced many complications. Her mother later found out about the piercings and had to bring her to the hospital due to an infection. “The piercings definitely weren’t worth getting sick or getting in trouble with my mother,” says Davila, from English High School. “If going back in time were possible, I would have my mother bring me to a professional.” Piercings are a trendy way to bedazzle the body. Whether you’re talking about nose rings or belly button and eyebrow piercings, they’re totally cute. But the question is: Are they safe? There are a lot of risks that come with having a piercing -- especially if not done by a professional or at a sanitary shop. According to kidshealth.org, these include abscesses, infections, uncontrolled bleeding, and even hepatitis. Keisha Fertil, 17, says she got her lip pierced by a professional with the permission of her mother and did not face any problems after taking great care of it. “My experience at a professional shop was amazing,” says Fertil, from Charlestown High School. “Everything was extremely clean, they told me about the risk of getting a piercing, and even gave me a free care kit to clean my piercings.” Nya Ross, 17, from New Mission High School, does not want any piercings at all because she thinks they’re overrated and risky -- regardless of where you get them done. “I don’t see why I need to spend over $50 on a piece of jewelry that won’t significant change anything about me and can potentially get me sick,” says Ross. “It’s not worth the stress.”
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Matthew Shako believes it is dangerous and might have negative health effects to sleep too much.

“It’s bad for you,” says Shako, 17, who goes to Boston Latin School. “It’s unhealthy for certain bodily functions to not be active for that long.” Although Shako sleeps 8 to 10 hours a night, he would slumber for four more hours if he could because he loves to doze. According to the National Sleep Foundation, teens need at least eight-and- a-half hours of sleep a night, but 15 percent don’t get that much on school nights – whether they’re up doing homework or getting lost on social media. Then there are those who get too much rest. Webmd.com says that super-sleeping can be a sign of anything from diabetes to depression. Seventeen-year-old Oscar Mercado says he sleeps 6 to 12 hours a night and would love more. He doesn’t believe that too much sleep is bad because it helps him relax and he feels more energetic and happy. “Sometimes your body or your mind is more tired than usual, so you need more sleep,” says Mercado, who goes to Excel High School. Nolan Jones, a junior at the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science, feels that resting regenerates the human body. He says he only sleeps for five hours a night due to insomnia and would like additional hours. But he also believes that going overboard can lead you nowhere. “If you get too much sleep,” says Jones, “you’re missing out on life, and life does not stop for you. It keeps going.”
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Dealing with a sibling who has disabilities isn’t always easy. Usually you have many people asking questions or staring. It’s frustrating at times but it’s also what makes your family different.

My younger brother was born de with deformed ears. People often look oddly at him and some kids have gone as far as asking what happened. But he’s comfortable with being deaf. I’ve learned a lot over the past eight years. There is so much technology and many accommodations for deaf people: flashing doorbells, sight-signal fire  alarms, and even implants that are programmed by computer to help him hear. My brother is teaching me how to sign. Seeing an eight-year-old communicate in Sign Language, English, and Spanish shows you just how smart people with disabilities can be.
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