Kate Adam

High school is often thought of as a transition period in which students start paying attention to what is going on in the world. They are stuck between childhood, where ignorance really is bliss, and adulthood, where real life begins.

With the eventful weeks that have recently passed, various news items are perpetually on the forefront of everyone’s mind, including students, whose voices typically go unheard in the midst of opinions constantly flying around.

Because students are the upcoming generation of world leaders, it is important for them to have a voice. As such, I asked high school students of various ages and from various local high schools to discuss their views about the most important topic in the current news cycle.

Some students believe the most pressing issue in society today is the various forms of violence that are becoming more prevalent around the country.

“I think that terrorism is the most important problem,” said Kyle Caramato, a sophomore at Righetti High School. Similarly, Pioneer Valley sophomore Gizzle Melero said that the “most important thing in the news right now are shootings that keep happening in cities.”

Agreeing with Melero was Elijah Cavasos, who believes the most important story on the news right now is the mass shooting in Texas.

“I believe that this will affect society by raising awareness for the mentally disabled, and being aware that something like this could happen in any community,” said the St. Joseph High School freshman.

The sad fact is that violent acts “make” the news much more so than positive news. However it is not the norm, or even close to it. In fact, according to FBI Uniform Crime Reporting, about .004 percent of Americans experience a violent crime each year.

What we see is what we perceive, so it is not surprising that so many are concerned with their safety and the safety of others. Some students are more concerned about social issues as they often feel they are more directly affected by them.

“The most important thing right now is the lack of education on [women’s issues],” said Righetti senior Kendall Bagby. Bagby explained that it can be difficult for adults to fully comprehend the complexity of growing up in this era, which sometimes leads to the lack of empathy between generations.

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Similarly, Orcutt Academy senior Shelby Mohler said “the biggest topic in the news right now has to do with the gender equality.”

Referring to the Harvey Weinstein scandal, Laurel Porter, a senior at St. Joseph, said “the recent scandal is a big omen to our society that there are still differentiations between the equality of sexes. It is wrong for anyone to tolerate the fact that this belittling treatment occurs. The fact that it happens to women who we believe are some of the most powerful and highly regarded lets us know that we are not moving forward as we should be.”

But not everyone is focused on such serious news. There are always big things happening in entertainment, sports and music because the industries are so fast-paced. For this reason, some students chose pop culture items as the highlight of current events.

“The most important news is that the Dodgers lost the World Series!,” said Halli Hunter, a junior at St. Joseph. Echoing this sports theme, Gina Rigali, a sophomore at St. Joseph and a Fighting Irish fan, said that the best news story at the moment is “Notre Dame playing at No. 3 in the nation for college football!”

Simon Goldin, a junior at Righetti, chose rapper Lil Pump as his choice for most significant societal figure at the moment because, “Pump inspires the young using music with his positive outlook on life. [He] is an example of living in the moment and pursuing your dreams, because anything is possible at any age or any time in your life.”

The variation in responses reflects the transitional nature of a high school student’s life, where violence, social issues such as gender equality, and pop culture seem to be prevalent topics. But I wonder if these answers would be any different if they were provided by a cross-section of adults?

Kate Adam is in her senior year at St. Joseph High School. She loves traveling, writing, and eating fried rice.

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