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When Boyle Heights Beat was first introduced to teens at surrounding high schools, many didn’t expect they would become journalists and tell powerful stories about their community. For over a year, publishers and editors have worked with talented and motivated students to produce a bilingual print news publication.

As Boyle Heights Beat grows and expands more opportunities for community members to become citizen journalists, many of our veteran youth reporters must also embark on the next phase of their lives.

A total of 13 youth reporters- made up of former and current staff- graduated high school this month. But before they’re off to gain new skills and begin a new journey, several of them shared their experiences and offered some advice for other youth in Boyle Heights.

On graduating:

“At first, it felt like a distant notion–something that parents tell their children to keep them motivated. The very second I moved my tassel over from the right side of my cap to the left, I knew I had done it: I culminated, I graduated, and I made it”¦I’m my own person now, independent, and grown. I felt liberated.”
          -Andrew Roman, Roosevelt High School- attending University of San Francisco

“I am excited to start the next phase of my life because it is like starting fresh all over again. It is a little scary because you don’t know what to expect and you have to be more independent.”
                 -Daniel Vidal, Roosevelt High School- attending Cal State University, Los Angeles

“Of course it is scary I will have to do everything on my own. I know that I will succeed though. I am very happy I am the first in my family to graduate high school. It feels great.”
               -Maria Vera, Roosevelt High School- attending San Joaquin Delta College

“I wasn’t so excited about it at first since I knew it was going to be a part of my path. Once I was in line to get my diploma, and was seconds away from having my name read, I understood that what made it special was my family and friends.”
               -Jonathan Olivares, Roosevelt High School- attending Cal State University, San Fransisco

What you will miss most:

“I will miss my close friends and my family, of course. Also, I will miss the taco stands that make Boyle Heights and South Central (where I live) worth living in.”
               -Kevin Martinez, Roosevelt High School- attending Westminster College

“I will not miss anything, actually, because they will always remain with me in memory.”
               -Kevin Garay, Roosevelt High School- attending Los Angeles City College

“I will miss Boyle Heights in general…Soto Street, 8th Street and all the places like the Mariachi PLaza where   I grew up… This is my home and I’ll miss it but I know that I’ll embark on a new adventure   up in the bay.”
        -Cinthia Gonzales, Roosevelt High School- attending  Cal State University, San Fransisco

Valuable lessons learned:

“In high school, I had trouble managing my time, so over the four years there, I learned to keep a schedule, and take on the responsibilities I could handle. I know I will use this skill for the rest of my life.”
               -Ricardo Ayala, Roosevelt High School- attending University of California, Los Angeles

“My time at Boyle Heights beat has become a memorable one because without it, I would not have opened my eyes to the reality I now see today. As a journalist, you analyze closely and learn a lot about what’s really going on in the real world, and the changes that come after it. I made many friends, acquired new skills, made close connections, and enjoy what I do. It’s very valuable to me because it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to write about your community and you see things in your perspective and others.”
               -Emmanuel Bravo, Mendez Learning Center- attending University of California, Los Angeles

“The most valuable thing I learned in high school was that everything you learn will be used in the future. At Boyle Heights Beat, I learned so much about being a better writer. I learned how to talk to strangers and it taught me how to be professional and have fun at the same time.”
               -Daniel Vidal, Roosevelt High School- attending Cal State, University Los Angeles

“The one thing that I can take from high school is that you cant slack off or you will have to work very hard to catch up. I made over 100 credits my senior year. I didn’t get to enjoy it because I had to make up all of the other classes.”
               -Maria Vera, Roosevelt High School- attending San Joaquin Delta College

Advice for youth:

“You as the teens of your generation have so much power. You can influence laws and stop injustice”¦There is power in you words and you can lead this world into a place in which you desire it to be.”
               -Andrew Roman, Roosevelt High School- attending University of San Francisco

“My advice to everyone would be to go out somewhere, anywhere, and just look around. Find something small that catches your attention. Learn about it and out of that something small, you can make something big.”
               -Emmanuel Bravo, Mendez Learning Center- attending University of California, Los Angeles

“Boyle Heights is beautiful in many ways ”¦ you can find some of that beauty in the art that is in it, but it’s most beautiful quality is its people and what they represent. I also would recommend that you network with everyone around you, and always be humble in heart, and never be shy, but be bold.”
               -Jonathan Olivares, Roosevelt High School- attending Cal State University, San Fransisco

“Don’t be afraid to leave Boyle Heights. It’s a good experience to leave home but also come back and help out your community. For me it’s been very hard economically. So I hope when I come back , I’ll be able to help students that have to go through the same as I did.”
         -Cinthia Gonzales, Roosevelt High School- attending  Cal State University, San Fransisco

 

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