AFH Photo // Cuong Huynh
Anthony Carr, 16, understands the value of having friends at school. They can help keep him on track to crack the books, he says, and also do the right thing.

“They assist you in doing work when you’re confused or don’t understand,” says Carr, from Boston Latin Academy, “and also motivate you to make good decisions at school.”

In a teen’s life, there are neighborhood friends; friends from back in the day; and those friends you see all the time at school.

Yekalo Tesfazion, a junior at BLA, sees the importance of school relationships beyond the basic social aspect and as a way to build future business networks.

“School relationships are important,” says Tesfazion, “because they help with employment opportunities and with connecting with people.”

For Edil Mohamed, a junior at Boston Latin School, school friendships help her
get through those inevitably tough high school moments.

“Your friends at school, especially the  ones that are very close to you,” she says,  “will always have your back and be there  for you, especially during hard times.”
Read more…
AFH Photo // Dominic Duong
Even as many young immigrants strive to master English, they are facing pressure at home not to abandon their native tongues.

“My dad wants me to remember my roots and language is a pivotal part of that,” says Elebetel Assefa, a junior at the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science, who came came to the US from Ethiopia in 2012.

Staying bilingual allows these teens to continue communicating with members of their community.

“It creates a bonding relationship with people who share the same language as me,” 16-year-old Ibrahim Yousof, who goes to school in Roxbury, says of his Somali exchanges.

Karen Situ, a junior at the O’Bryant, says she still feels more comfortable speaking Mandarin to her Chinese friends as she tries to improve her English.

“I think it’s because I have an accent,” she  says, “and it is not good enough.”
Read more…
Cover Story
Extra!!! Extra!!! Teen Tops Ticket!!
AFH Art // Andrew Chaupetta
Say you were elected the first teenage president of the United States. What would be your top priority? 
Sixteen-year-old Rayven Heath, from Dorchester, believes first and foremost that the brazen misuse of guns poses a colossal threat to America itself. 
“As soon as I step into office,” says Health, “I’d institute a standardized state test where the person has to follow a specific protocol -- otherwise they face unfavorable consequences.” 
Heath wants intense, ongoing scrutiny of the potential gun owner, including questions about why the person needs the weapon, and training for that individual about when and when not to shoot. 
Penalties ranging from gun-license revocation to prison would be levied on those -- both civilians and law enforcement -- who betray their stated intentions of firearms use, says Heath. 
Of course, as far as any teen actually topping the ticket, Article II, Section 1, of the US Constitution clearly states: 
“No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.” 
Putting constitutional constraints aside -- as some of the major party candidates have seemingly already done in their quests for the White House -- teens say that by raising serious concerns about the future of the country, many youth have displayed more maturity than at least several of the clownish, adult contenders. 
For 19-year-old Abbie Williams, of Mattapan, job one would be to repair the shredded state of race relations in America by putting those who feel left out and left behind on more equal footing with those who hold a superior power standing in society.
“Adults and children should see role models who have a high status, who have influential positions, and more importantly, these people should look like them,” says Williams. 
Part of that could be accomplished, teens say, through heavy educational investment. 
Sixteen-year-old Maya Alaoeasheg, from the South End, feels that building high-quality schools would help level the field for kids from different backgrounds and give them the same opportunities to advance. 
“America has numerous disadvantage gaps between the rich and the poor,” she says. “In my opinion, the education gap is most detrimental. It’s expanding and it does concern me. I would build the best high schools all over the country and have the best certified teachers enlightening future generations.”

TEEN-PLATFORM PLUS 
Here are other major issues on the minds of American teen members of Generation Z who were polled in 2014: 
  • • Equality for all; 
  • • Universal, free healthcare; 
  • • The right of everyone to become a US citizen regardless of where they were born or how they came to the country; 
  • • More college affordability; 
  • • Being better educated about personal finances; 
  • • Commanding their own futures. 

Source: Northeastern University

Read more…
AFH Photo // Kim Han
Back in June, actor Jesse Williams won BET’s Humanitarian Award and gave a powerful speech addressing the issues of police brutality, cultural appropriation, and simply the unfair treatment of black people. He received very supportive responses from people everywhere. However, there were some who had interesting criticism for Mr. Williams.

Daytime talk show host, Wendy Williams, commented that, “National speeches like this will always rub people up the wrong way, just like, you know, white people might be offended because Spelman College is, you know, a historically black college for women.”

In saying this, she is promoting the idea that racism is not an issue and that people of color, or more specifically women of color, are supposed to appreciate the limited opportunity they have in a country that fails to acknowledge their struggle.

As a woman of color in an industry that is largely filled with people unlike her, Williams might be expected to understand the impact of what she said. But she continued: “What if it was the National
Organization for White People only? There’s the NAACP.”

Only later did Williams apologize for these statements, saying, “I was wrong.”

Meanwhile, Stacey Dash, famous for costarring in the hit ’90s film “Clueless,” also decided to put in her two cents. On her blog, she called Williams “a HOLLYWOOD plantation slave!” and said the Black Lives Matter movement has “planted the seed of segregation and no longer want to live in ‘perfect harmony,’ like the old song wished.”

When a black woman speaks like this, it only validates the continuation of prejudice in our society.

We should applaud all those women of color, from Lupita Nyong’o to Zendaya, who use their platforms to create positivity and shed light on troubling issues in our society.

I find it heartbreaking to see people who  have the potential to do so much good  with their positions fail so miserably
Read more…
AFH Photo // Janna Mach
I think there should be drug testing in Boston high schools because I hate seeing students coming to class wasted and acting like fools. Schools can find out which students are using drugs and also give them a reason to quit or resist peer pressure to even start.

Some students believe that drug testing shouldn’t be allowed because they don’t want to feel that their schools are being turned into police zones. Also, they think it invades their privacy.

But what about my privacy? Don’t I have the right to study in peace and not have class be disturbed by druggies?

If parents don’t want their kids subjected to drug exams, they should just make sure their teens are clean.

Having school officials drug-test every two weeks wouldn’t be too disruptive and it would enhance the learning environment.

According to The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, by 2008 some 16 percent of all school districts in the US had instituted some form of drug testing.

Boston should join them.
Read more…