The Teen Scene
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Whether you were the jock, the artist, or the science nerd in high school, we’re sure there’s a lot about those days you remember fondly—and maybe some things you’d rather forget. We caught up with seven Westchester teens to find out how the teen years are different these days, what has stayed the same, and what it’s really like to be a teen wearing a label—and we’re not talking Prada.
[The World Citizen]
Nadia Ahmad, of Larchmont, is a 17-year-old senior at Riverdale Country School.
Interest: International Relations. Nadia is involved with Model U.N. at school, takes Urdu, has worked with the Hispanic Resource Center in Mamaroneck, and traveled to Botswana this past summer to do community-service work.
How did you become interested in international relations? My dad is from Pakistan and, from an early age, I was exposed to a lot of different cultures and traditions.
What do you like to do most outside of school? I’m a competitive horseback rider. I sing inside and outside of school, and I took piano for fourteen years, but recently quit.
What teen look do you despise? Punk.
What do you think about “sexting?” People think it’s ridiculous.
What do your friends think of teen pregnancy? It’s so far from reality at my school.
What do your friends tease you about? Not being Jewish since my school is ninety-eight percent Jewish.
Is there a lot of drinking and drugs in your school? Yes. Being in the City, it’s so easy for kids to access drugs and alcohol. Although, at my school it’s completely fine to not do it and still be accepted.
What do you do on the weekend with your friends for fun? I go into the City.
Jamaal Gill, 18, of New Rochelle, is a freshman at Boston University.
Interest: Sports (especially basketball). In high school, Jamaal played on the New Rochelle High School Varsity team and on the Brooklyn Ballers AAU team. He won five Most Valuable Player Awards in basketball from 5th through 12th grades and helped younger athletes at Remington Boys & Girls Club in New Rochelle.
Have you ever been in a serious relationship? Not since eighth grade. I’m kinda sad about that.
Do kids at your school date? Definitely—a lot.
If they made a movie of your life, who would you want to play you? Cuba Gooding, Jr.
What teen fashion look do you despise? Those short, tight leggings that all the girls wear.
Favorite musician? Ne-Yo.
Favorite website? NYChoops.com.
What was your most embarrassing moment? Last year in a basketball game, we were playing against Mamaroneck. I got a steal and had a wide-open layup. But I missed the shot and the whole gym was laughing at me.
What did you most hate about high school? Free periods—they’re so boring.
How much drinking goes on in your school? A lot. Most everyone in tenth through twelfth grades drinks on weekends. And it seems like the kids who get drunk the most get the best grades. I struggle to get my good grades, and I don’t drink at all.
Who do you admire most and why? Kelly Johnson [Executive Director of the New Rochelle Youth Bureau]. He is African American and in a wheelchair. He has to be bold and courageous to do his job. He’s changing the lives of kids in New Rochelle every day.
If you could trade places with anyone in the world for one day, who would it be? Jay-Z. He is the man.
William Snyder, 18, of Ossining, is a freshman at the University of Rhode Island.
Interest: Engineering/Science. William is an INTEL Science Talent Search Semifinalist who came in second place in Physical Science at the New York State Junior Science and Humanities Symposium. He was a member of his high school’s engineering club. William built an underwater ROV (remotely operated vehicle) and is a diver, pursuing his interest in ocean engineering.
How would your friends describe you? Smart or computer savvy.
Whom do you admire most and why? Bob Ballard. He started the JASON Project, a program designed to teach students about scientific exploration. He found the Titanic and other wreckages.
What’s your favorite book? I read a lot of Clive Cussler, but one book I liked when I was younger was 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
What’s your favorite TV show? MythBusters.
What reality show would you want to be on? Wipeout.
What did you most hate about high school? The cliques.
What was your worst grade ever? At the beginning of junior year, in AP U.S. History, I got a sixty-five on the first test. The whole class got twenties and forties. It was a wake-up call for me.
If you could live elsewhere for one day, where would it be? Underwater as an aquanaut.
What’s your worst habit? Wasting lots of time online. I know all the cellphones scheduled to come out three months from now.
What do your friends tease you about? They joke around about how I know everything about computers. I’ll be on my laptop and they’ll ask me if I’m hacking into the school computer.