America taken for granted: Students lose sight of what really mattersThursday, October 05, 2006 By Ashley Encalda
“Yes! Modern teenagers are spoiled rotten!” English teacher David Holbrook has strong feeling towards this generation and their lack of respect for their rights and privileges as American citizens. The way students can regain their dignity as American citizens is to travel to foreign countries to see the delicate environment that other children are living in and realize what they have. Most teenagers dedicate so much time spending money on today’s “in” clothing when they could instead set aside their money for something valuable. Some children and teenagers in Africa and Ecuador do not even have any clothing. And when teens do buy new clothing, they should at least give their old clothes away to the homeless. At school and at home, there are students that take out more food than they can eat and don’t realize they throw half of it away. Meanwhile, other starving kids will eat anything and everything the other kids throw away. On average, every 5 seconds a child dies from starvation, so by the time it takes somebody to read this, two children have died. A web site dedicated to world hunger states that every year, about 11 million children all around the globe die before his or her fifth birthday. One out of six people go to sleep at night with an empty stomach, and one out of four lacks safe drinking water. More than 1.2 billion people are living off $1 a day. Who can imagine living like that? Nowadays, in America, there are limited things you can buy with a dollar. Most students spend dollars on gum, chips, and candy, and the prices just keep getting higher. What goes up continues going up. What if teenagers were to go to these places, would they realize what they have? Comparing the advantages of luxury living to the homeless and starving can be wrong. “Folks, it can happen to anybody!” Holbrook said. Causes of poverty can include natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, lack of education, crime, and many more. Mostly teenagers who are in middle school and high school drop out when free education is in their reach. Other children do not have a school to go to or even any money for school supplies. Some students drop out without being aware of the opportunity they are given and the chances they have to excel. Technology is a big part of students’ daily lives, especially cell phones, which can be holding back on a student’s academic success. Cell phones have become so reliable that some students freak out when they lose them. “I...feel my phone is my life. So I would go crazy if I lose it. Yo dig? If I didn’t have a cell now, it would be all bad. Yo feel me? So I am glad for our technology,” said senior Marquise Smith. Some students may take advantage of the technology we have. “When it runs out or it’s not available anymore they want it and they wanna take advantage of it, but its gone,” said Smith. In other words, you don’t know what you have until you lose it. Some children don’t use cell phones for communication; they collect broken cell phones for other causes. “The suffering in Gaza has reached a point where young Palestinian children have resorted to sucking the toxic juices from cell phone batteries in order to survive,” said spokesman Ibrahim Hooper, from The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). Some people have decided to take up certain professions in order to contribute to society. “I became a teacher because I care about the future, it makes a difference to me about what happens,” Holbrook said. Students have the ability to do many things to help their community and maybe even the world, but most haven’t started yet. “Wasting food is an evil. Cry and shame we can’t get food where it belongs,” said Holbrook.