El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Philippa Villalobos

If you ever find yourself walking through a school campus and observe the different children around you, you may realize they really are not all that different from one another. Sporting the same clothes and hairstyles while acting very similar makes it difficult to notice any differences beyond genetic appearances. It seems that our society teaches children from a young age that being different is a flaw and conformity is key to success, but this leaves no room for individual development or societal advancements.

Nothing can substitute a breath of crisp fresh air, the smell of sage after rain, or the rustling of leaves under your feet as you walk through an untouched piece of our planet. Spending an astounding amount of our lives in bustling cities and busy suburban communities can cause us to forget nature’s ability to fulfill a tranquility that cannot be reached in our concrete jungles.

High school students have adopted a common mindset that it is more important to get a high grade for a class rather than actually learning the material. It is easy to see high school classes as nothing more than a prerequisite that will not really help you in your college or career. However, I would argue high school education is important and lessons learned in high school can help later in life.

In 1935, Langston Hughes once said in his poem “Let America be America again, America never was America to me,” referring to the minorities, the women, the poor, and the countless others, who never truly experienced the idea behind the land of the free. Our nation has never been more socially conscious than it is now, and yet we still need to address a multitude of unjust parts of our society.

Often times the incentive of material profit and wealth fogs the idea of true success and happiness. While everyone is quick to ask what kind of car you drive, we forget that who is in the car with us counts for more. We live in a society obsessed with materialism, and when advertisements are everywhere, it is truly inescapable.

Kindness is as simple as a heartfelt compliment but can effortlessly turn someone’s day from gloomy to brilliant. Nothing feels quite as wonderful as receiving acts of kindness but even more so delivering kindness to others. It is easy to get caught up in busy schedules and endless engagements, but do not let your life stop you from partaking in simple moments of satisfying kindness.

It is nearly impossible to get through the day without encountering strict gender guidelines. From the moment a child is born they are labeled and locked into stereotypes that we should have moved past years ago. From dictating which bathroom it is appropriate to use, to which color to wear; pink or blue, these rigid labels support sexism and alienate people who do not identify with the two conventional genders.

When most people think of September, it’s the start of fall drinks at Starbucks, the first fallen leaves, the first day of school, but what should dominate September is Childhood Cancer Awareness. According to St. Baldrick’s Foundation, every two minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer, a word that shatters the air and leaves everyone a little emptier. September is a time when we honor and support all these children and families affected by this devastating disease.

By Philippa Villalobos and Albert H. Fulcher

Especially when looking at the current presidential election, it is clear that we should move past our two-party system. The dominant, exclusive parties create government that neglects a middle ground and divides citizens.