It’s hard to be a good high school student

Tue, 10/28/2008 - 3:50pm
By: Letters to the ...

Being a high school sophomore, I spend my days surrounded by hundreds of students discussing their weekend plans to get drunk or hook up with yet another older guy.

It wasn’t until I got in with a crowd of academic achievers, athletes, and people with morals that I realized how downhill society has become.

I’m 16 years old, I play on my school’s varsity volleyball team, I write for my school’s student newspaper, I’m an active member of the Beta Club, and I know what its like to want to do anything to fit in.

But students have taken risks to a whole new level, making high school harder to get through for the rest of us.

On any given day, you can check a student’s Facebook and find dozens of pictures showing teenagers looking “fuzzy,” sticking their tongues out, holding mysterious bottles conveniently covered up by handy artwork from the Paint program.

Staying in to watch a movie on a Friday night seems like a sin to most teenagers nowadays, especially if you’re not doing it without a joint or a bottle of vodka to make things more interesting.

I have goals, I know what I want to do, both athletically and academically, and I know drinking or drugs will just interfere with the rest of my life.

But yet, I can’t help but feel like an outcast when I realize it’s Saturday night and I’m at home watching “Law and Order” reruns.

Along with becoming obsessed with illegal activity, teens have become so uncultured and unappreciative, it’s become increasingly difficult to get my classmates to buy a copy of our school’s newspaper to help fund our journalism class (we ask for a mere 50 cents).

Half of the students don’t care enough to know we have a student newspaper. Teachers even offer extra credit if students can prove they attended the school play in attempts to get students involved again.

Even when students do get involved in a decent activity that doesn’t involve breaking the law, they seek to bring drugs or alcohol into the picture. That’s not a stab at the McIntosh cheerleaders, but they are merely an example that proves my point even further.

When did being a high school student involve a fear of being surrounded by someone seeking to get drunk even when it comes to participating in school activities?

It’s about time someone speaks out — high school has changed, and it’s only going downhill from here.

Kymberly Smith, 16

Starr’s Mill High School student

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Submitted by Ashley Tracy on Wed, 11/05/2008 - 5:00pm.

Let's stop pointing fingers and start addressing facts. Yes, the article might have been a little more harsh than I first expected; and yes, every high school around the country has some kind of drug/alcohol problem; but does that go to say that we shouldn't make an effort to change our school for the better? No - we should do everything in our power to make our school a better place to learn. And Kymberly has just taken the first step.
On the other hand... Starrs mill is not a bad school. It has it's fair share of problems, just like any other high school in the US. Most teenagers everywhere make stupid choices and try new things - and most teenagers learn from those choices. Just because a kid makes a mistake doesn't mean he/she will fail at life.

Overall, I commend Kymberly for voicing her opinion on such a controversial topic; and I think she did a good job.

Submitted by bsktballdude012 on Tue, 11/04/2008 - 6:58pm.

u try to sound tough
yet ur scared to write your name
because u edmit to doing illegal activities
at least she has the courage to speak out for
what she believes in
Jordan Avery

Submitted by ptcmom3kids on Tue, 11/04/2008 - 7:17am.

...Kymberly for having the courage to sign your name at the end of your letter. Obviously you were the ONLY one with enough courage to stand behind your beliefs.

I also encourage the authors of most of the replies to this letter to spend a little more time on Saturday night studying for any upcoming grammar tests - trust me, it is very much needed. The spelling, run on sentences, misuse of words, etc. makes your replies difficult to read!

Simple - party less - study more!

.Silence Dogood.'s picture
Submitted by .Silence Dogood. on Mon, 11/03/2008 - 10:02pm.

Students and parents, if you have not read the comment written by Travis (smstudent171) I would strongly advise you to. It reflects my beliefs as well. The comment is titled "Let's Be Serious. It's Time to Wake Up.", written on Sat, 11/01/2008. I will further include my opinions at a later date.

Silence Dogood

Silence Dogood's picture
Submitted by Silence Dogood on Tue, 11/04/2008 - 7:42pm.

Mr. Whomever you are. Shame on you for stealing my name.

I do agree though. Way to go Kymberly Smith.

.Silence Dogood.'s picture
Submitted by .Silence Dogood. on Tue, 11/04/2008 - 8:44pm.

Hey, I posted first. You stole my name "Mr. Whomever you are", so back off. (it's a pretty clever name isn't it)

Silence Dogood

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Submitted by Cyclist on Tue, 11/04/2008 - 8:53pm.

There are two of you.
Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

Submitted by liveyourlife on Mon, 11/03/2008 - 5:33pm.

im not quite sure what your intention of writing this was...good or bad, you need to realize that just because someone drinks doesn't make them a bad person...i thought you of all people would realize this. actually i think you know that and maybe it was just a poor choice of words on your part...but either way, being stereotypical never helped anyone now did it? this is living proof...okay so people drink...and get high, but whats it to you? there are so many people who don't who are also involved in school like you, who have a great social life, who aren't hating and discriminating on those who drink. you can party, have a good time all without drinking and hooking up with a million guys. just because you felt that you had to drink to fit in doesn't mean that thats how everyone else feels. if you drink, you drink. if you don't, then you don't. simple as that. live your life, and do what you want. get off of your high horse and realize that people are people. shit happens and sometimes you just don't know how to deal so you turn to something or someone to forget and other times you just wanna have a good time...whats wrong with that? and if you enjoy watching law and order on saturday nights whos to say thats wrong, but don't walk around here playing the "victim". live your life and move on. have an open mind and experience the world and the people in it with compassion. people are people and just because they believe in something you don't doesn't make you any better than them. do what you want with your life...more power to ya, but being pesstimistic towards everyone around you just proves that you have gotten hurt by said people. be strong, not bitter.

Submitted by Positive0ne on Mon, 11/03/2008 - 12:38pm.

I am a senior at Starrs Mill and I am in total disagrement with you, yes highschool students are going to party, get drunk, and get stoned, what do you think your little article is going to do? Change the World?? you need to get over it and look outside starrs mill, Every single high school has the same what you would call problems, but theres nothing you can do about it. I am very offended by your article because there are plenty of kids in our school who are completly straight edge like you, i cant say i am one of them, but still you cant just go around pointing fingers and playing mother teresa. Im sure your friends have smoked or drank some form of alcohol at some point in time and maybe just havent said anything. You said your always hearing these kinds of things around your friends and such, so maybe they are out partying while your at home watching the worst show ever (law and order). Have fun fixing or trying to fix our school because there are 1 million others like us. keep your opinions to yourself cause most of us dont even care.
The Positive One - Class of 09

Submitted by sandytoes on Mon, 11/03/2008 - 1:28pm.

Why aren't you in class right now?

I may not agree with everything Kymberly said, but my guess would be that her overall future looks a lot brighter than yours.
I'm glad she shared her opinions. Many of us in the community share them.

Submitted by Positive0ne on Tue, 11/04/2008 - 12:16pm.

For your information, i am in class right now : ) also i have already been accepted to one of the best music/ entertainment schools in the country, so thank you for judging my life just by reading my post.

Silence Dogood's picture
Submitted by Silence Dogood on Tue, 11/04/2008 - 7:46pm.

Great... just what this world needs. Another musician. That's all we need in this country right now. Guess you'll have a need to rely on Obama for your needs too in the future. Your post says alot about you. Good day.

Submitted by iDidntDoit on Mon, 11/03/2008 - 12:52pm.

Sounds like Kimberly hit a nerve. I don't recall Kimberly "pointing her finger" at anyone specific.

Who are you to tell someone to "keep your opinions to yourself"?

Submitted by Brian Young on Mon, 11/03/2008 - 12:25pm.

so you are saying all kids are bad at starrs mill except for you?, nobody wants to buy the newspaper because it is only like 3 pages and it sucks. And who watches law and order on a saturday night. I party every weekend without doing anything illegal. You need to mind everybody elses buisness.

Submitted by danfan27 on Tue, 11/04/2008 - 6:03pm.

Brian. I'm sorry to say that you have NO room to talk. You are telling someone that she is an idiot because she believes that drinking and smoking are stupid? She hasn't been arrested twice for drugs. Think about that.

Submitted by Brian Young on Wed, 11/05/2008 - 9:58pm.

First of all who is this danfan person and why are you calling me out? Since you agree with what this girl is saying i take it that you too feared all of the kids in school that were smoking and drinking. So you excluded yourself from many people in school(if you didnt,they would have probably known your name when you graduated)because you were sure that every kid out there was doing something illegal. Now look, your at college sitting in you dorm posting on a blog about highschool drama. Its sad and rediculous that you agree with this article. Not everyone is a druggie and they have enough sense to hangout with friends and not do anything illegal. You have no idea what your talking about so quit accusing people and mind your own buisness. Also i never called her an idiot for thinking that drinking and smoking is stupid and i was NOT arrested twice for drugs. Think about that.

gelato's picture
Submitted by gelato on Tue, 11/04/2008 - 6:33pm.

I have been reading the postings related to Kymberly Smith's article, and truly admire her gumption. I saw Brian Young's reply, which made no sense to me since his name made the arrest and not the popularity list on the Citizen a few months ago. But to quote Forrest Gump "Stupid is as stupid does." You, danfan, claim not to have been popular, but popularity now a days is definitely overrated. What people don't understand is that you live regretting stupid mistakes; mistakes which can change your future forever. Both you and Kymberly have my respect for speaking out the way you did. Kudos to the both of you.

Submitted by mick613 on Sun, 11/02/2008 - 6:22pm.

All I want to say is thanks for posting this. I always see people on The Citizen ragging on high school kids, calling them "immature" and "thugs" and "druggies" and "potheads" and whatnot. It's all ridiculous. So, all I wanted to say is thank you for showing that high school kids are not as bad as these "fine" Citizen bloggers make them out to be. They only pay attention to the ones that get caught doing stupid stuff.

For instance, I see blogs posted every now and then congratulating the Sandy Creek or Fayette County HS bands for their hard work. And usually, there are zero replies. But as soon as there's an article about drunk cheerleaders, everybody jumps on it. It's ridiculous. Good deeds go unnoticed here, so thanks for making this post.

- Matt
Class of '07

Submitted by ptc01 on Sun, 11/02/2008 - 3:29pm.

Kids will be kids, which means kids will drink and do drugs. This is nothing new to society. In fact, its been apart of America's culture for a very long time. Just because kids engage in illegal activity does not mean they are moral burnouts or uncultured. Saying they are "uncultured and unappreciative" is complete ignorance. You do not know all of the kids who participate nor do you know them on a personal level to judge them. Let people live thier life and keep an open mind and do not judge them for wether or not they participate in illegal activities, judge them for who they are as people. And for those of you who believe everything illegal is wrong, then you are a robot who will listen to anything the government tells you and that is the only concern I have about society. Society is looking up and so should you, be positive. The students at Starr's Mill and teenagers in general have a right to speak out against this article for it targets them directly. Saying Starr's Mill and high school teenagers have a problem is a mere opinion and in my opinion I believe there is no problem. In fact, I am proud of this generation with all they have accomplished and the goals they have set.

carbonunit52's picture
Submitted by carbonunit52 on Sun, 11/02/2008 - 3:37pm.

"I can't wait until tomorrow, because I get more lovable every day."

Submitted by entitledstudent on Sat, 11/01/2008 - 6:36pm.

Here’s the deal. If you are offended by Kymberly’s letter then you need to say so and then get over yourself. It is just plain immature to go around bashing someone for having an opinion. It was a letter to the editor that expressed one opinion. She called no one out by name, even though she, as well as I, easily could.
The entire letter is not pointed just at Starr’s Mill students. It only refers to teenagers in the general sense. And yes it could be taken negatively, but only if you are already in that mindset.
Also, who are you to go around judging her past? Whatever she did in middle school, this letter is just proof that she grew up and put that all behind her.
What's more, for those of you telling Kymberly to “GET A LIFE AND SOME FRIENDS WHILE YOUR AT IT” maybe you should take a look at the second paragraph of her letter. I’ll even put it here for you: “It wasn’t until I got in with a crowd of academic achievers, athletes, and people with morals that I realized how downhill society has become.” She has friends and these friends, from school, do not do any of the things she talks about. See, there are some of us whose sole purpose is not getting drunk and hooking up and Kymberly acknowledges that.
By bring up her past you crossed a line. You may not agree completely with what she said, and that is perfectly okay. What is not acceptable is to intimidate and condemn. Threatening her will get you no where and makes you seem ignorant. Maybe it is you who should “stop complaining” and go prove the statements made in her letter wrong. You talk about all of the things to do that do not involve alcohol and drugs, why not get your friends together and go do these things. You never know, maybe you kept one of your friends from doing something worse. If you are so upset about everything then get off of your soapbox and go out and change it. Don’t hurt the messenger.
I know there are people out there who do not do any of the things discussed in the letter, but if it is these people who are offended, then take a step back and look at the percentage of people for who this letter does apply to. I doubt her letter was intended as a stab at anyone. Kymberly was just trying to get everyone to wake up and take a good look around.

Submitted by SMHS Burnout on Sat, 11/01/2008 - 11:30am.

Look. Here is the deal. Every person has a choice to drink, smoke, shoot heroin or whatever on the weekends that you think people do. If your "friends" want to do that, you have no control over that. If they don't listen to you, they're not your friends! GET NEW ONES! There are plenty of people in Starr's Mill who don't entertain illegal activities every weekend. There is a word in the English dictionary called FUN. You might want to try this out and stop being so bitter. And fun does not entail doing drugs or drinking in any way, shape, or form. Perhaps a church is where you may find people. I have succesfully had many great times at the Mill while keeping a 3.8 GPA and positive remarks from my teachers. So don't you dare say that I don't care about my future because I have drinken before. Uncultured has nothing to do with a newspaper. If it was worth buying, people would buy it! I have heard a number of teachers who speak of its illegitamacy. You have no real problems what so ever. You are a typical member of the Peachtree City bubble. The real world will slap you in the face. Be Ready!

Submitted by smstudent171 on Sat, 11/01/2008 - 9:23am.

Everyone needs to shut their mouths and pay attention. The fact is, there is a problem at Starr's Mill. An inappropriately large percentage of the student body engages in illegal activity on a regular basis. And you know what? It doesn't matter that you aren't actually an alcoholic or a "burnout", what you're doing is still illegal, and it's still wrong. And if you keep it up, sooner or later you're going to get caught. I care about my friends alot, and it kills me to hear about what they're doing on the weekends. There are people I've grown up with since pre-school, and I feel like I don't even know them anymore. I am so disappointed in so many of my friends because they don't have the guts to stand up for themselves and refuse to go along with their "friends". At the same time, they refuse to listen to their real friends, the ones that tell them that what they are doing is wrong and harmful. And about college being way worse, in college, everyone is 18, and most everyone will turn 21 before they graduate. In high school, NOBODY is old enough to drink. So good job Kymmy. I commend you on having the guts to stand up and call out the student body on a serious problem. While i disagree with the blanket statement you made about the ENTIRE student body being drunks and burnouts, as my closest friends and I aren't even close to these things, I understand how you feel. And guys, what Kymmy did "IN MIDDLE SCHOOL" doesn't really matter. Unlike the rest of you idiots, she grew up and took responsibility for her actions. If you've got an issue with her, grow a pair and find her to talk to her in person. Are you mad because now your parents are suspicious? GOOD! The reason most of you kids are so screwed up is because your parents are'nt paying attention to what their lying, sneaking children are up to. I have never had any issues with my parents, because I have never done anything to betray their trust. I can go where I want, when I want, because my parents know and I know that I'm not going to do anything stupid to cause suspicion. The real hypocrites here are the kids that want to argue about how Kymberly was overstepping her bounds, but then go out and overstep the bounds of the law every weekend. Drinking is NOT LEGAL, and while you may be able to argue with your conscience, you can NEVER argue with the law. I don't expect this comment to change what anyone is doing. In fact, if you read down to this point, I'm pretty impressed. But like I said, the facts are that drinking and smoking weed are illegal, no matter how infrequently you do it, and unfortunately an overwhelming majority of the school has tried it at least once since they've gotten to high school. And you know what? It was illegal that one time also. I'm tired of sitting around watching my friends hurt themselves with drugs and alcohol, people that I used to respect. I also find it ironic that the people most offended by this article are the ones that do everything that Kymberly described. I take no offense at this article, and I admire Kymmy for having the guts to speak out. Seriously though, not EVERYONE in our school does these things, and such a blanket statement was inappropriate. But if you guys are offended that she called you out, though not necessarily by name, why don't you STOP the illegal, irresponsible things that you're doing, since I have heard so many of you hypocrites say yourselves that there are plenty of things to do on the weekends besides watching Law and Order reruns that don't involve alcohol. Why don't you go out and do some of these things? Anyway, I'm about out of things to say... But I want you guys to realize that what you're doing is illegal and wrong, and the more you do it, the more the odds for you getting caught increase. And I'm tired of watching people I've loved and respected for my whole life hurt themselves, and I hate that I have lost so much respect for them. And so you people know who you are, I'll tell you who I am. Alot of you know me, and if you have any issues with what I've said here, come and talk to Travis. I'm tired of standing around watching my friends destroy themselves, and I'm man enough to sign my name to and argue for everything I've said here, unlike some of you who have posted negative comments. So get yourself some self respect, and grow up. Parents too. Ask your kids where they've been, who they were with, and what they were doing. Get involved in your kids' lives. It starts with you, and unfortunately most of you are the biggest problems. And I would like to once again thank Kymberly Smith for speaking out against the problem. You really seem to have started something... See you kids at school.

Submitted by danfan27 on Fri, 10/31/2008 - 11:09pm.

Being a recent alumni from Starrs Mill, I can say that I agree with every little thing you had to say. I was pressured into so many things through out high school, and I had the courage to say no. I was not popular, and many kids in my own graduating class didn't even know my name. But when I would spend my time in class being stuck next to the kids that all they looked forward to was having sex, drugs, or boos, I lost all respect for them completely. Also, it is easy to get sucked into this stuff. And the consequences are strong. If you get caught with boos or drugs, the cops aren't going to let you off. And for the way too many sexually active kids, I'm sure the STDs that many of you have (and I know many of you who do) is painful enough.
The good thing to say is that college will be better for many of you, if you choose it. I went to school thinking that I would be partying every weekend, but that was not the case. Although I attend parties every now and then, I do not drink or do drugs. I have met many good influences since I have started school that have helped me to get through the year so far. And as the announcements always say "The choice is up to YOU". Not your friends. Your friends or peers will not choose your life for you.
And about the Prowler, I do agree. And as a former staffer, The Prowler is worth the 50 cents. We wouldn't be an award winning paper if it wasn't.

Submitted by classof2011 on Fri, 10/31/2008 - 4:29pm.

i really think its funny how u hear one story and change the perspective of people. if people choose to drink or smoke it doesnt mean they dont have goals or morals. Teenagers try new things everyday because were all getting older and experiencing new thing and learning who we are. Were not in middle school anymore and when u get college its gonna be so much worst. Starrs Mill is not even a bad school. Look at so many other schools around Georgia. I would love to hear what you say about them. We don't have fights everyday at our school like some do and do u ever hear of someone getting killed we are not a bad school. Look at the people you hang out with they started drinking and doing drugs in middle school. if u want to talk about the mcintosh cheerleaders get ur facts straight. u dont even know the story behind it. youv lived in the bubble to long and u need to experence real life and get in the real world if u think this is bad. why are u scarred to be around someone that wants to be drunk? if u have better morals then why are u still here? if u think its so bad then why dont u move? just because u think your so perfect does not give you a right to call all the rest of us bad. oh and just to let u know the newspaper is STUPID. where not ungratefull or anything we just dont want it and use money for usfull things like food and stuff. so u want to make us sound bad for not buying the paper? funny joke. yup that makes me as equal to a drug addict right? i know. and were uncultured because we dont have money to spend on a paper when we are the culure? get ur facts straight. i think its funny how u claim that our school is like the worst ever but we were the number one public school last year and our school wins a lot of comeptitions. people move here for the school. look what u caused. people are talking about u and thinking differently to. so if u think its soooooo bad then why are u still here?

Cyclist's picture
Submitted by Cyclist on Fri, 10/31/2008 - 6:43pm.

perhaps SPLOST is needed.
Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

carbonunit52's picture
Submitted by carbonunit52 on Fri, 10/31/2008 - 7:11pm.

What do you estimate the cost would be for students to pay attention in English class?

"I can't wait until tomorrow, because I get more lovable every day."

Submitted by and how many gu... on Fri, 10/31/2008 - 3:55pm.

This article is mostly a total lie about Starr's Mill. It's a little rediculous how her article rants and belittles the students of Starr's Mill by complete and obvious stereotyping. The majority of people do not get high and/or drink every weekend as the article states. The article is a complete exaggeration. {{{EDITED AND WARNED: NO PERSONAL ATTACKS OR YOU WILL BE BANNED}}} I also have a vague recollection of one of your best friends getting smashed at a high school football game. I can't take this article seriously. Two things, leave if you hate your classmates that much, and if you think Starr's Mill is 'bad', have fun in college:)

Submitted by urfulloflies on Fri, 10/31/2008 - 3:27pm.

i almost forgot. what u might ask? {{{EDITED AND WARNED: NO PERSONAL ATTACKS or YOU WILL BE BANNED}}} drank alcohol and smoked pot all the time in middle school. IN MIDDLE SCHOOL!?!?!?! i heard that from dozens kids at school of all grades and of different social standings. you are a hypocrite and now everyone at schools dislikes you b/c of your lies...congratulations

Submitted by urfulloflies on Fri, 10/31/2008 - 3:19pm.

i agree with the gatorfan kid, you have no idea what you are talking about. I too attend starrs mill and have for four years, sure there kids that do drugs and drink on weekends but in no way is that anywhere near the majority of the student body. i feel that you have been ostracized by your "friends", and are simply lashing out everybody b/c your just in a tizzy that you have no friends and nothing to do on the weekends. there are so many things to do on the weekends that don't involve drugs or alcohol. Stop complaining, pick ur head and quit lying to yourself, that your miss perfect, im in beta club along with 500 other students at the school, have a 4.0 and 1300 on the SAT and i also play a varsity sport and have a job and still have time to have a great social life that doesnt involve drugs. stop making excuses.YOU ARE WRONG, GET A LIFE AND SOME FRIENDS WHILE YOUR AT IT

Submitted by floridafootball15 on Fri, 10/31/2008 - 11:12am.

This article is a gross exaggeration and frankly I find it quite offensive. I’ve gone to Starr’s Mill for four years and know what its like, I do beta club, play sports, bla bla bla. But wait aren’t I just another “uncultured burn-out”? No. In fact neither is the MAJORITY of the school. Sure there are groups who might do such things, but where on Earth are there not? Personally if you’re complaining about all your friends participating in such activities…. GET NEW ONES!!! It’s simple. Simply putting your head down in despair won’t solve a thing, get out and do something! (STOP COMPLAINING) There are plenty of kids who still attend parties and events and manage to turn down drugs of alcohol…. Gasp, maybe were not just a bunch of uncultured burnouts after all. Those are the kids who deserve our congrats, not someone who just puts their head down and complains.

Submitted by kps on Thu, 10/30/2008 - 9:51am.

Kymberly -
Your letter came at a perfect time! My middle school daughter has begun to struggle with these same issues. Now I can show her that she is not alone. Having goals and strong convictions are unusual for young people these days, but I am sure it will put you ahead in the future. My heart bleeds for the difficult times you are going through. Please stay true to yourself and remember that you are helping other girls who are in the same boat by speaking out!

Submitted by skyspy on Thu, 10/30/2008 - 7:38am.

You and other students like you are going places. I know its tough to go against the trend of the drunk loser crowd. It sounds like the "burn out" crowd is in the majority what a shame.

Keep working hard, you will be successful at whatever profession you chose. Most of the drunks will have a hard time making it through college, if they go at all. They will still be wandering around this small town, while you are traveling and enjoying a great career.

Keep up the good work.

Submitted by hi grover on Wed, 10/29/2008 - 10:23pm.

I respect you for holding yourself to a higher standard. I appreciate your candor and I want you to know that making good choices now will help you later. I sat at home with my family many a weekend night in high school. I think that my time was well spent. Don't be in a rush to grow up. Take your time, enjoy each day and stay strong. You are a leader now and you will be down the road as well. I wish that more kids your age and younger had the fortitude to swim against the current. Go give your parents a hug for being good parents and have them hug you back for being a great kid!

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