By Jason KUROSU
The CV Alliance, formerly the Crescenta Valley Drug and Alcohol Prevention Coalition, held the first of three forums at the La Crescenta Library, with Thursday night’s event addressing what teenagers, parents and educators can do collectively to steer today’s youth through the turbulent times of adolescence.
A panel consisting of Crescenta Valley High School students and Paul Royer, a licensed clinical social worker, offered their insights into the current mindsets of today’s teenagers. The students represented various student organizations such as the Fire House, Prom Plus and the school’s Associated Student Body (ASB).
Members of the Fire House coordinated with Crescenta Valley High officials to compile 120 anonymous student responses to the question, “What should CV adults know about CV kids?”
The responses addressed a number of different aspects of teenage life and were split into seven categories for the purposes of the forum: bullying, drugs/alcohol, workload, respect, stress/pressure, individuality and good remarks (regarding adolescent life in general).
The panel read through some of the more notable responses, which presented a generation that feels overtly pressured to succeed, overworked both at and outside of school and increasingly led to drugs and alcohol for relief.
The first set of responses read by the panel addressed the prevalence of bullying at CV.
One response read, “Most [students] are involved in things you wouldn’t think they are involved in, and they get away with it. There’s also a lot of bullying going on even when we try to prevent it.”
Other responses touched upon the racist nature of some of the bullying taking place at CV, with one response reading, “To answer a question with a question – How can I feel safe going to a school where almost everyone is racist?”
But most of the responses referred to the overwhelming pressures facing today’s youth, whether it is the workload given by teachers, the expectations from parents, peers or themselves.
The hours that students spend per night on homework are not a new concern for teens today. One of the written comments implored teachers to recognize that “they are not our only teacher; maybe lighten up on homework.”
Others decried an educational system that they felt did not take the individual student into account.
“CV faculty members need to know that every student learns differently,” one comment read.
Another read, “We should learn more hands-on and with critical thinking than the blatant memorization we do today in class.”
Based on the responses detailing the pressures from school, it was unsurprising to find that many of the students who participated in the survey reported being stressed out.
“Six-plus hours of school and four-plus hours of homework leaves no time for me to be with my family,” one comment read.
Another described the lack of sleep the average student suffers from, due simply to a lack of time.
The panel then answered questions from the audience, which mostly consisted of parents who wanted to know what the kids thought would alleviate problems such as lack of sleep and the difficulty of managing an increasing workload.
The Alliance had planned to show parts of “Race to Nowhere” during the meeting, a documentary which examines the pressures felt by today’s high school students driven relentlessly towards achievement and success, but often at the expense of their happiness.
However, that film was considered too negative and not entirely representative of CV’s teens, so instead some clips were shown from a film made by senior Austin Seo, president of the Fire House and emcee of the forum. In the film, several students were interviewed about issues relevant to CV’s students. While some scenes dealt with the everyday hardships of school life, the film appears to also highlight lighter moments, showcasing how many of today’s kids choose to alleviate their stress.
The film will premiere in full in February.