Friday, October 9, 2015

Visit Galveston For Gulf Coast, Local History

Mugdha Gurram /

The warm Gulf of Mexico, as seen from Galveston Island, Texas.
By Mugdha Gurram
Senior Reporter
GALVESTON, Texas, U.S.A. – Out in front of you the Pleasure Pier amusement park extends into the Gulf of Mexico, lit up in changing patterns of neon reds, blues, purples and greens against a darkening sky.
The calming sound of the waves clashes with the din of laughter and chatter coming from the restaurants and stores lining the street.
Mugdha Gurram /

The Pleasure Pier, an amusement park built
on a surprisingly sturdy dock, lights up in all
the colors of the rainbow during the night.
A small number of people are still on the beach, playing amongst the waves or searching for seashells on the shore. Tourists love Galveston, Texas for its ocean-side experience.
However, people come to the small coastal city for more than just the beach.
According to Stacy Gilbert, Director of Convention Services and the Visitor’s Center in Galveston, tourists also appreciate Galveston’s rich history.
Many of the beautiful houses – The Bishop’s Palace, Moody Mansion, and Ashton Villa, which attract many visitors – played roles in local and state history.
These historical sites housed famous families such as the Moodys, who built the largest American financial empire of their time.

Mugdha Gurram /
One of the many beautiful historic homes that attract tourists to Galveston.
Mugdha Gurram /
Across from the Gulf stands a line of restaurants, stores, and homes, including these brightly colored beach houses.
Their houses remain similar to the way they were when first built; because of historic district rules, it’s actually a difficult process for present owners to make any kind of change to the historical sites.

Galveston is also home to a lot of firsts, such as the first black high school, first telephone, and first post office.
This city has enough to satisfy any touristy needs, whether it’s kicking back on a beach chair, or – equally appealing – sight-seeing and visiting the local historical landmarks.
Your tax-deductible contribution can help support this nonprofit at:

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Stop Accepting Abusive Relationships In Popular Entertainment And In Life

By Brianna Ramos
Junior Reporter
HOWELL, New Jersey, U.S.A. – I’m positive you’ve heard of the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon by now. It’s become a joke, a pornographic book you’re grandma has probably read, yet it’s raking in unbelievable amounts of money while sending out a hurtful message.
Sales of the book by EL James made her the world’s highest earning author, according to The Guardian newspaper, which also reported that the movie based on the book saw box office sales of more than $500 million globally.
Despite the sexually graphic content in the book and movie, most people do not take it seriously; but it is part of a pattern in so-called “entertainment” that portrays abuse as acceptable.
Even seemingly innocent novels such as “Twilight” and “The Hunger Games,” have abuse lurking below the surface. Sadly, this has become so common that it is almost normal to readers in real life.
The fact is, stalking is not okay, and pressuring someone, male or female, into performing any act against their will is abuse.
The growing popularity of abusive relationships in pop culture – listen to any top 100 rap album and count the amount of theoretical women the rapper has had intercourse with – proves we need to be more open about sex and relationships.
My first introduction to falling in love was Beauty and the Beast, where a French woman’s father is captured by a shut-in beast, and she is forced to live with the captor.
No one expects us to take these fairy tales literally, but the fact is, all most people get before finding real love is fiction, which is not an advantage. It sets up fake expectations and roles to be played.
The man must be strong and bold, the woman must be slender and girly, gay relationships do not happen outside of comedies, and has there ever been a mixed race Disney power couple?
Our job, as the youth of today and leaders of tomorrow, is to redefine what “love” means.
Love is consent. Love is imperfect. Love has no boundaries. Love does not involve stalking, forcing, or hurting anyone in any way.
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Monday, October 5, 2015

At Independence Day Event, Leaders Tell Nigerians To Adopt A New Way Of Thinking

Festus Iyorah /
Some of the crowd who attended the Independence Day event in Lagos last week.
By Festus Iyorah
Senior Reporter
LAGOS, Nigeria – Nigerians must change their way of thinking if the country is to develop, a respected political economist told a crowd celebrating the nation’s Independence Day.
"We should change our mentality and strive to change the system if things would work well," said Prof. Pat Utomi, who spoke at the celebration held Thursday in Lagos.
"We must change our way of thinking and value systems by giving attention to those things that are truly important."

Utomi, who twice ran for president of Nigeria, was one of the key speakers for the program, which was organized by Covenant Christian Centre to mark Nigeria’s 55th year of independence.
Festus Iyorah /
Mbajunwa Obinna studies
mass communication at
the University of Nigeria.
"Our learning culture needs to be improved because only when we learn from our past mistakes we can begin the journey to greatness,” Utomi said.
Also speaking was Catholic Bishop Matthew Kukah, who said the problem with Nigeria is that the government structure is weak.
"'I'm very concerned about this country because this is God's moment for Nigeria. The question is this, "Where do we go from here?" Nigeria is in our hands," Kukah said. "Corruption is driven by greed and the fight against corruption is a fight beyond mere verbal and moral exhortation.”
If corruption is so evil, the bishop asked why Nigerians are so comfortable with it.
Youths who attended the conference were optimistic that Nigeria would be better.
Ifeanyi Kalu, 21, is an entrepreneur who said he is not giving up on Nigeria.
"With what I've heard today, I believe that can be a place we would be proud of. In the next 20 years, the Nigerian flag will be seen as the beacon of hope," Kalu said.
Festus Iyorah /
Oluwatobiloba Akinsekeji, is
a creative arts student at the
University of Lagos. 
Mbajunwa Obinna, 17, a student studying mass communication at the University of Nigeria in Nsukka, said it will take time for Nigeria to come into its own.
"We are still at developing stage, which is not encouraging,” said Obinna, “but I'm hopeful that in the next 10 to 15 years we would be recognized as a developed country."
Oluwatobiloba Akinsekeji, 21, is studying creative arts at the University of Lagos. She looks to her faith for Nigeria's path. God will use President Muhammadu Buhari to change the country, she said.
"I can see improvement of the power sector and the reduced rate of corruption,” said Akinsekeji. “With this, Nigeria will be a better country.”
Nigeria independence is celebrated every October 1 to mark the day the country received independence from British colonial rule in 1960.
In his Independence Day speech, Buhari, who came to power in May after beating former President Goodluck Jonathan by a comfortable margin, said Nigerians must change their lawless habits and their attitude toward public office and public trust.  They must change unruly behavior in schools, hospitals, marketplaces, motor parks, on the roads, in homes and in offices.
Buhari said Nigerians must appreciate that everyone has a part to play if they want to bring about change.
Your tax-deductible contribution can help support this nonprofit at

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Loyal Nepalese Should Buy Local Products

Nischal Kharel /
A peaceful protest took place in Pokhara on Thursday to encourage citizens to buy products made in Nepal.
By Nischal Kharel
POKHARA, Nepal – My country is facing a crisis because of an economic blockade from our neighbor, India. It is keeping petroleum and other products from entering Nepal.
This makes gasoline difficult to buy – but more importantly, is hard on factories and commercial vehicles that also rely on petrol to operate.
That is why on Thursday, Oct. 1, I joined a group of youth and other people from my city in a peaceful rally in Pokhara.

We wanted to promote the use of Nepalese products and remind the citizens of Nepal to do that and to reduce the use of private vehicles. We want to help the Nepalese government move the nation forward toward prosperity and self-reliance.
Nepalis should focus on our national products rather than using foreign made items to make our country more sustainable and prosperous.
This is only possible when we stop paying foreigners for our daily goods.
In other parts of Nepal, some demonstrations have turned violent and there are even people who want to see more divisions.
We hope new national leaders, who will be elected tomorrow, will work to make the country self-sustaining, to create job opportunities and to multiply the number of products that are made here.
So our team, which we call “Made in Nepal,” are raising our voices and encouraging our fellow citizens to promote and use products that are made here at home.
Your tax-deductible contribution can help support this nonprofit at:

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Iowa School Principal Injured In Shooting

By Garret Reich
Junior Reporter
GLENWOOD, Iowa, U.S.A. – The local high school principal was one of several people hurt in a shooting near his home early this week.
Principal Richard Hutchinson, who is in his second year at Glenwood Community High School, is recovering from the Sunday afternoon shooting.
"This was a very sad and unfortunate event,” school Superintendent Devin Embray said in a statement. “We are in shock and disbelief and we are letting law enforcement handle the situation and guide us through it."
Students, who like Hutchinson, are upset.
"He connects with the students on a more personal level," said senior Quin Baker on Tuesday. "He has made a pretty big impact on the school in such a short time."
Tristan Brown, a 2015 graduate of the school who is now a freshmen at The University of Iowa, said, "There was no reason for him to be put in that position. He definitely took a supportive part in his community, and always went to all of the school functions."
In a short interview at school on Tuesday, Assistant Principal Rick Nickerson spoke about the principal’s impact in his community.
"He is a caring individual,” said Nickerson. “Staff and students know that he cares personally about every individual in the school."
According to a prepared press release from the Mills County Attorney’s office, the Glenwood Police Department, the Iowa State Patrol and the Mills County Sheriff’s Office and emergency medical personnel responded to a call about a possible gunshot around 5:45 p.m. Sunday.
Three people were taken to local hospitals for treatment and a gun was found at the scene, the press release said. The incident remains under investigation by local and state police.  Officials have said all possible motives, including racism, would be investigated.
Hutchinson is black; the school and town is predominantly white.
The morning after the shooting, Embray sent an email to parents and staff.
"The district has no reason to believe that any staff or students are in any danger at this time,” the superintendent’s email message said. “However, we have increased security measures to monitor the situation at this point."
Your tax-deductible contribution can help support this nonprofit at

Gaining - And Sharing - Insights While Volunteering In Another Country

Roger Chen /
Students taking part in a class taught by FEDA volunteers at the local primary school.
By Kelly Liu
Junior Reporter
BATTAMBANG, Cambodia – With several friends, I spent some of my summer on a volunteer trip working with a school in the city of Battambang, Cambodia.
It was a unique opportunity for me to see and experience a different culture from my own in Taiwan.
I also got to make a difference, no matter how small, to this community.
Roger Chen /
A Cambodian boy flashes a big 
smile at a young volunteer.
Education is important. It not only provides knowledge, but also a chance to change and live a better life. This chance, however, is taken away from children in many places in this world.
What we take for granted may be a faraway dream for people living in these regions.
We worked with a local school called FEDA, which provides education for local students at a cost of $2 per month. It was formerly free, but they couldn’t handle the overwhelming amount of students.

Roger Chen /
The newly painted wall at the entrance to FEDA, a school in Battambang, Cambodia.
It’s more of an afterschool program, where students come to learn what they can’t in school, like English and how to use computers – both important skills they value.
During the trip, we had a chance to visit two of the students’ family and interview them, getting an insight into their lives.
At first, I was still confused about whether an international volunteer like me would make much difference in this community in such a short period of time. Through these interactions I realized we visitors weren’t the only ones who got to see a different world. The Cambodian students did, too.
When I asked them about their dreams when they grow up, both the families I interviewed shook their heads, indicating they had none.

Roger Chen /
The local families the visiting students served are primarily farmers.
The local teachers told us that most of these students have no idea of the possibilities they have in the future. Almost all families are farmers.
Roger Chen /
A classroom at the FEDA school in Battambang.
The most respected jobs there are teachers and doctors, because those are the only other people they meet. Through our visits, they got a view into a world they’d never seen before, a vision outside of their small community.
And maybe our jobs, as international volunteers, was to bring back what we saw and what we learned. If we share our experiences, it might influence others to make a difference, too.

Your tax-deductible contribution can help support Kelly Liu and other students worldwide who are served by this nonprofit at:

Monday, September 28, 2015

New England College Students Take A Break To Enjoy The Lunar Eclipse

Mary Majerus-Collins /
The supermoon in the process of a lunar eclipse, as seen from the Middlebury College Observatory in Middlebury, Vermont.

By Kiernan Majerus-Collins
LEWISTON, Maine, U.S.A. – There is one spot on the campus of Bates College where you can really see the stars. A small school in suburban Maine, Bates is off the beaten path, but not far enough to avoid the bright lights of civilization. But on top of Mount David, a tall outcropping on the edge of campus, it is dark enough to get a partial sense of the majesty of the night sky.

Thus, when celestial events are on the way, many students here have the same idea:  hike Mount David and look to the heavens. The trek up is steep but short, and the way is lit by dozens of smartphone flashlights shining in the darkness. 
Sunday night, students found their way to Mount David to get a view of the “super blood moon.”
At the top, there was the babble of about 100 students sitting on the rocky summit. Some were laughing, some drinking or smoking, some were simply looking up at the sky.
The lunar eclipse was clearly visible, but so too was the Big Dipper, on the northern horizon. 
As the night wore on, students would come and go, having seen their fill and growing cold in the autumn air.
The way down is more treacherous, and movement is slow. At the bottom awaits a return to college life – the late nights and early classes, the football games and term papers – but just for a few minutes, we stopped, and gazed up at the moon.
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Supermoon, As Seen From Southern Africa

David Joseph Kapito /

The Supermoon, viewed from Malawi.

By David Joseph Kapito
Junior Reporter
ZOMBA, Malawi – It was a great experience to spend time to see what happen when the Moon is in the closest part of its orbit to Earth.

Skygazers enjoyed seeing the full Harvest Moon turn red during its lunar eclipse. Because it is closer to Earth than the Moon usually is, it appears larger and is considered a "supermoon."

So those who were awake just to see the eclipse at the right moment to a wonderful sight. It lasted just an hour and a few minutes more. Later, people who were trying to get a glimpse of the moon didn’t have as much luck because clouds covered the Moon at times. Around 3 a.m. Malawi time, the moon could be seen at times and it sometimes disappeared from the sky. 
David Joseph Kapito /

About 3 a.m. Malawi time, the moon was bright again, but sometimes the clouds obscured the view.
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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Feast Of Eid Ul Adha Is A Big Celebration, But Not a Great Day For Goats

Arooj Khalid /
Goats for sale by the roadside in Lahore, Pakistan for the celebration feast of Eid Ul Adha. Many people sacrifice a goat or other animal for the holiday meal.

Arooj Khalid /
A small herd of goats for sale at Ghalib Market in Lahore, Pakistan in advance of the feast for Eid Ul Adha.

Arooj Khalid /
Many goat sellers entertain customers near a chowk, or town square area in Lahore, Pakistan.
Your tax-deductible contribution can help support Arooj Khalid
and other students served by this nonprofit at:

Smog Cancels School In Singapore

Selvaganeshamoorthi Balakrishnan /

Smog covers Singapore Thursday, prompting officials to cancel school on Friday. 

By Selvaganeshamoorthi Balakrishnan
SINGAPORE – With air pollution levels at the hazardous point, officials closed primary and secondary schools on Friday, Sept. 25 in Singapore.
The haze – and accompanying smell – is caused by logging companies in the region, such as the provinces of central Kalimantan and South Sumatra in Indonesia, adopting the illegal "slash and burn" forest clearing method, according to the Straits Times, the nation’s largest newspaper.
This method, which involves the burning of forests, has shrouded Singapore and its Southeast Asian neighbors in a thick haze.
Selvaganeshamoorthi Balakrishnan /

Selvaganeshamoorthi Balakrishnan /

Before officials decided to close the schools, provisions had been made to conduct lessons in air-conditioned venues and suspend physical education classes.
The Ministry of Education announced that a high level music exam has been rescheduled. That test, which had been set for Sept. 25, will now be held Sept. 29.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Be Open To New Friends, But Stay Focused On Your Studies In High School

David Joseph Kapito /
David Joseph Kapito is a YJI student in Malawi. Click on the cartoon to enlarge it.
By Amber Shakil
Junior Reporter
Youth Journalism International
LAHORE, Pakistan – There are always fears in the minds of freshmen. They worry that they won’t fit in and they won’t make friends. They worry that people they meet will be different.
Believe me, these fears don't matter once you have started going to high school.
Every step in life teaches you a lot of things and high school does the same.

Those years you spend in high school may be your best. At first, it will be difficult because everyone will be a stranger. After a few days, though, you will start to know each other and that is the point when you begin to make friends.
But if you remain reserved, then it will be difficult to make friends. So be frank. Talk to everyone.
Take part in every competition. Join different clubs. Competitions and games generate self-confidence.
The most important thing, however, is your studies. Never make them as your second priority.
Never forget that ‘the first impression is the last.’
You cannot achieve anything without hard work, so never give up until your last breath. Best of luck!
Your tax-deductible contribution can help support Amber Shakil, David Joseph Kapito and many other students around the world served by this nonprofit at:

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Conquering High School Friendship

By Felicity Rodger
EDINBURGH, United Kingdom – Being a new student at high school is an intimidating time for anyone. Trust me, I've done it before. But don't worry.

Thanks to our judgmental skills as youths, we can analyze – most of the time – who a suitable 'best friend' might be. Sometimes, it only takes a few hours of knowing each other. Once you find a person who has similar interests, the next phase of your life begins.
Your first high school friendship could last a week or maybe a lifetime, but it will get you through. Until you find the next 'best friend,' that is.
School is a weird place, however. As you move from class to class, you begin to observe the formation of certain friendship groups. These groups form due to many factors: intelligence levels, common interests or romantic attractions, among other things. To give you an idea of which groups to look out for, I am going to inform you about the groups you are likely to come across at your new high school:

The Sports Jocks

Particularly common in American high schools, this friendship group consists mostly of males who share an interest in sports. Usually there are different groups for each sport, like football or hockey, which will stay together in a pack and talk about – you guessed it – sports.

The Comedy Jokers

This group can consist of both males and females, who are usually very friendly. If you need cheering up or you've had an argument with your mate, go to these guys. They are full of conversation, they don't care what other people think of them, and they are always up for a good time.

The Intellectuals

The people in these groups are friendly enough, but always full of themselves. Sometimes these people do not have very good common sense, even though they are clever in school. The members of this straight-A crew are always annoyingly good at every single subject. They can't give you any advice on relationships or friendships, but they will talk to you never the less.

The Pretty Little Liars

Unless you feel you are part of this group, you will want to keep a safe distance away. This group is for high school girls who are popular on all forms of social media and have boys on the brain. They seem nice enough, but be careful. These girls have mastered sarcasm by the age of two. They might seem to be friendly, but really they want you to make a fool of yourself or do their homework. The best thing to do is be pleasant, but keep away.

The Perfect Matches

If you don't fit into any of the groups above, this group is the one you want. These people will be your lifeline during school. They usually have a fair understanding of everything going on, they do well in school, and they are reliable. They're usually very easy to spot as they will come up to you and introduce themselves, and everyone in the class, because they want you to feel welcome.  They are just generally nice people.
Obviously every school is different. But judging from my experience, these groups pop up a lot. I hope this gives you a better understanding of what groups to look out for.
Have fun, and good luck.
Editing by Youth Journalism International Associate Editor Alan Burkholder.
Your tax-deductible contribution can help support Felicity
and other students at this nonprofit at: