A Press Democrat Blog

Teen Life

News and opinion from local teens

By  ITXASO GARAY CASA GRANDE HIGH SCHOOL For most, the ability to hear is a basic function that is often taken for granted. Without this sense it would be impossible for many of us to perceive the world around us. Casa Grande High School freshman Maria Ochoa, born deaf, never has been able to hear. Despite her deafness, Ochoa is able to view life with the same, if not more, depth, wisdom and appreciation than others her age. While Ochoa’s… Read More »

Teen Face: Amy Jin

By LORI A. CARTER THE PRESS DEMOCRAT Calling Amy Jin “driven” is an understatement. The 17-year-old senior at Casa Grande High School in Petaluma moved the TV out of her room — “it was too much of a distraction.” Other than keeping in touch with a few distant relatives, she’s not on Facebook. “I like to be in the real world,” she said. In the real world, Jin serves as the youth chairwoman of Petaluma’s Youth Commission, a city-sponsored committee… Read More »

Caleb Lundquist, 16

The Lundquist Brand I am a Lundquist. To most, that doesn’t mean anything. To teachers, it means I am related to one of the brilliant students they have had before. To me, being a Lundquist means attempting, usually in vain, to meet expectations set impossibly high by siblings and upheld by my parents and the teachers who were “graced” with their presence years before me. Despite having a personality almost alien to the rest of my family, I am shadowed… Read More »

Don’t blame movies, books; set rules as a parent

By LUCY SLAVIN CASA GRANDE HIGH SCHOOL Recently, my mom told me of a conversation she had with a friend who told her how concerned she was about allowing her 9-year-olds see the film “The Hunger Games.” She explained to my mom that she was upset that the media was exposing her child to emotional anguish, bloody deaths and child murder. Eventually, she made it clear that despite her disapproval, she had let her daughter see this movie. I have… Read More »

If I could sit and talk with my 7-year-old self

By ASHLEY SLACK CASA GRANDE HIGH SCHOOL If I could say anything to my 7-year-old self, I would tell her to enjoy the time spent running around like a horse in the school play yard, and the amount of time mom tells her to sing that one Frank Sinatra or Jim Croce song over and over again because those days come and go quicker than she will realize. I would tell her that frustration and exhilaration, sorrow and happiness, pitfalls… Read More »

Trying to become the person my dog thinks I am

By SIMONE VAN OMMEREN-AKELMAN CASA GRANDE HIGH SCHOOL I’m typically home from school at around 3:15, and I already know what to expect as soon as I unlock my door and walk through the entryway. No matter how my day went, I can always be assured that I will see my 15-pound Jack Russell terrier running toward me at full speed. Theodora Clementine (also known as Teddy Bear, Teddy Bean, Teddy Spaghetti and a plethora of other random names) came… Read More »

Lessons learned in Paraguay

By SHAWNA BROWN and T.J. GRAYSON CASA GRANDE HIGH SCHOOL Making a difference, having an impact and giving back: These were the goals that sent Casa Grande High School senior Nellie Graham 5,900 miles away to the grassy plains and woodland hills of Paraguay, sparking an interest in service to international and regional communities. Focusing on youth leadership, multicultural understanding and community development opportunities for teenagers, the program Amigos de las Americas originally gave Graham this community service opportunity last… Read More »

Teen moms: Never had doubts about having — and keeping — her baby

  By KELSEY MATZEN and SIMONE VAN OMMEREN-AKELMAN CASA GRANDE HIGH SCHOOL Teenage girls daydream about the day when they will have a baby, choose a name and dress it in adorable outfits. Little thought is given to the mess that babies create, the finances that they require and the amount of time necessary to care for one. They don’t trouble themselves with those issues, as the time for them to have a baby is expected to be far in… Read More »

Teen moms: Petaluma girl unaware she was pregnant for 6 months

  By ITXASO GARAY and CAMILLE GASSER CASA GRANDE HIGH SCHOOL Danielle Packett, a student at Casa Grande for two years and now a junior at San Antonio High School, never noticed any changes for six months. She went about her daily life care free and unaware she was carrying something that soon would change every aspect of her world. Packett was six months pregnant before learning of the baby inside of her. At 15, she discovered she was going… Read More »

Teen Face: Ian Runge

By KEVIN McCALLUM THE PRESS DEMOCRAT Ian Runge had never attended a school with more than 100 students before he stepped as an awkward freshman onto Casa Grade High School’s sprawling campus. He’d spent his elementary and middle school years cloistered in small private Christian schools. Being thrown into a sea of more than 2,000 students in Petaluma was initially unsettling. “Definitely just the size of Casa was a bit of a shock,” Runge said. But it didn’t take long… Read More »