For our last roundup of student comments for the 2018-19 school year, we’re doing something a little different.
A couple of weeks ago, we decided to flip the script of our usual Student Opinion questions. Instead of choosing an article and asking students to comment on it, as we’ve done daily all school year long, we asked you to tell us what you’re reading in The Times and why.
We heard from basketball fans in Philadelphia who read about 76ers star Joel Embiid as his team battled in the N.B.A. playoffs.
We heard from teenagers concerned about climate change who chose pieces about a 16-year-old climate activist and a report on mass extinction.
We heard from overworked students who suggested articles on mental health, getting straight A’s, confidence and why giving up is sometimes the best way solve a problem.
And we heard from many young people who have been keeping up with front page news, from the college admissions scandal and election meddling to recent pieces on the Sandra Bland video and the abortion debate.
Below are 25 of the best responses we got. Not only do we think other teenagers might enjoy these articles, but we also want to show examples of the kinds of writing we’ll be looking for in June, July and August when we run our 10th Annual Summer Reading Contest. If you’re interested in participating, all the details are here, and all you have to do is what the students from Julia R. Masterman School, the Governor’s Academy, Hoggard High School and elsewhere did below: Just tell us what you’re reading, viewing or listening to in The Times and why.
Please note: All student comments have been edited for length, but otherwise appear as they were originally submitted.
25 Times Articles, Photos and Videos Teenagers Recommend Right Now
Several students, including Sierra McKinley from J.R Masterman, read an article about 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, center, who skips school on Fridays to demonstrate for climate action at the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm.CreditElisabeth Ubbe for The New York Times
Someone our age being such an activist for something so important is changing the world … It made me wonder if we had more activists who are children would more children try to change their ways?
— Sierra McKinley, J.R Masterman
I chose to write about it because it really resonates with me and a lot of other students. Sometimes I get so overloaded with work and I get so stressed, that I have to take a break and come back to it later, or truthfully, never.
— Molly Flaxman, Masterman School Philadelphia
I thought it was interesting how a man dedicated his career to finding justice, and creating an occupation of one’s own the freedom and justice and that is why it represents the american dream.
— Camryn Glendon, The Governor’s Academy
I was shocked, disturbed, and interested all at the same time. I thought Praying Mantises only ate small insects like bees and stuff, but birds? Really? It’s kind of scary, to be honest.
— Anna Praticò, Julia R. Masterman, Philadelphia
I have been really stressed out about my grades this year, and I still would like to have straight A’s, but sometimes, school is not worth every single moment of your life.
— Sienna Shelton, Masterman, Philadephia
The reason I chose to read about the horrible tragedy was that I heard nothing about it here in the United States. I strongly believe that teenagers at my age should be learning about what is going on across the world not just what is happening in the U.S.
— Shane O’Leary, Byfield, MA
The video opened my eyes to what was going on in the rest of the world- children being tortured, and human rights being snatched away. I’ve always focused on the local issues but this video showed me an eye opening, horrifying future.
— Kristina Kitsul, Masterman Philadelphia
As ridiculous as it the outfits may be, you have to give points for massive creativity. It’s not everyday someone walks around dressed as a chandelier with no questions asked.
— Sarah Wong, Julia R Masterman, Philadelphia
9. “On Being an Outsider”
Almost everyone has been excluded at some point, definitely some people more than others. It sucks when you feel like the odd one out, and like you’re just tagging along in the back with the group.
— Kate Chin, Masterman, Philadelphia, PA
The article about Sandra Bland really stood out to me because it shows the racism, and brutality black people face everyday, and it talks about how corrupt the justice system is for black people.
— Ahsaan M., Masterman, Philadelphia, PA
Kids my age need to know about his because I it something we could potentially change and help. I know I didn’t know any of this existed and I bet other kids don’t know either, plus everyone is talking about how our generation is going to change the world but how are we going to do that if we don’t know all the facts on one of the most controversial subjects?
— Mariska, Masterman school, Philly
This article stood out to me because a lot of my friends have a mental illness … It makes me disappointed that teens aren’t well informed about mental health issues when it is so prevalent. Schools usually don’t touch on that topic, but I think they really should start to.
— Ami S, Masterman, Philadelphia
Personally, I always love reading reviews by the Wirecutter, a subdivision of the New York Times that picks their favorite of a certain type of item and reviews why it is the best. As a major tech geek, I always am looking to save money but also get the best deal.
— Nicolas Dorazio, J.R. Masterman School, Philadelphia PA
I found it riveting, in a terrible way, how the devastation to Earth has become so bad that regular conservation efforts will no longer be enough to save Earth and that all nations now need to contribute in conserving our planet if life on Earth has any chance.
— Amalia T., Masterman, Philadelphia
I have questions. Who thought that mushrooms of all things should be tested to see if they can do any benefit to the human mind … Did they conduct these experiments to multiple other vegetables and fruits to debate over which could be a potential benefit towards mental illnesses? This seems like such an absurd idea to test.
— Janey L., Masterman, Philadephia, PA
I think that people my age should learn about this and the effects that social media may have because when it’s time for us to vote we should know that there is fake news out there and to not believe and let everything we see on the internet affect our decisions.
— Jared Way-Gregory, Masterman, Philly
Should we accept a future where education is comprised of keystrokes and some mouse clicks? I don’t think I would want a future like that.
— Brian E., Masterman, Philadelphia, PA
It’s the kind of story that should ignite a spark somewhere within you and get you think. It should make you inspired. It teaches us that it doesn’t matter who you are or what’s going on in your life. That you too can stand for something you believe in. That anyone can make a difference.
— Lilly Eubanks, Hoggard High School, Wilmington, NC
I remember myself wondering, as the article began, whether I had somehow stumbled onto an excerpt from a horror short story. My feelings of dread and shock only climbed higher and higher as the article went on, as it poked endlessly at my deepest insecurities, my most hidden fears.
— Seonbin Song, Blacksburg, Virginia
As much as I value necessary discourse in politics and climate change, snapshots of everyday moments serve as reminders of all that is good in this world, in between hard-hitting exposés, and are just as essential to the news cycle. These photographs place emphasis on what connects us.
— Elizabeth A., Upper East Side
I am someone who gets very anxious about my chances of getting into a dream college, and every grade I receive makes me think about how it impacts my chances. When the news broke of this college admissions scandal across the country it made me doubt my abilities to get into a great university.
— Brennan McCauley, Hoggard High School, NC
I began to notice things I would have once not seen: a child’s hot pink glove, a broken pair of glasses, a note passed in class. All seem like small objects, you could maybe even call them pointless objects. But the story behind a object is what makes the difference.
— Bailey Barefoot, Hoggard Highschool, NC
I am both very confident and critical of myself, which can be very confusing. It made me feel comforted, knowing that others feel the same.
— Keira Braithwaite, Hoggard High
I chose this article because it talks about my favorite sport, basketball and it talks about Joel Embiid, one of my favorite basketball players. This article also features the Philadelphia 76ers, my home, and favorite, basketball team.
— Aryan Patel, Philadelphia, PA Masterman
Overall, whenever I read people’s stories, whether they are sharing their deepest thoughts or fighting for a cause, I realize the power of words and their impact long after we’ve clicked off the article. This type of writing inspires me to use writing as an outlet for me, to explore my feelings or to voice my opinion when I don’t know how to speak it outright.
— Michelle Lamas, Hoggard High School, Wilmington, NC