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By Shawn Nelsen


            Behind locked doors, closed windows, and a thick cover of secrecy the entirety of their mission is strewn before them.  When this group of hard working high school students volunteered to do a "special" job in order to help their impressionable peers become better students and gain self-esteem they could never have imagined the enormity of the task!  The five kids (three boys and two girls) are going to take part in a radical experiment that will, if successful, bring change and reform to the ever more disinterested student body at an undisclosed high school in an unknown state.  The students, now taken from their families and stripped of their identities, will be given a year of intense training on how to be the coolest, most likable and popular kids.  This done, they will be placed in the student body of the target high school, and with all luck, will use their training to become the very core of the in-crowd.  Once there, they will be able to lead their peers to believe that school is cool, homework is worth while, and that teachers can be their friends.

The fact that high school aged kids are all too impressionable is undisputed and should therefore be taken advantage of. To lead teenagers to believe anything is like shooting fish in a barrel.  Philip Morris was able to do it with the Marlboro man, leading many teenagers to take up smoking even though they knew that smoking causes cancer.  Nike was able to do it with their numerous ads on TV leading many kids to become lifetime buyers of Nike shoes even though there is no proof that Nike is any better than all the other shoe companies.  Last, but certainly not least, popular culture has been able to convince high school kids that football players are the coolest people on campus when, honestly, the majority of those jocks could not tell someone the square root of sixteen if their life depended on it!  There is simply no reason to believe that a group of highly trained special-agent high school kids could not spread new beliefs and bring about reform in America's student population. Though the narrative above is an example of creative writing, and will not actually happen, something needs to be done!  If not by a group of highly trained, high school aged, special-agents, then by some other means America's student populous should be convinced that school is cool, homework is worth doing, and that teachers can be their friends.

School should, once and for all, become the center of an adolescent's life; they should want to be there.  If kids wanted to be at school there would be a significant drop in the amount of students ditching class.  This, in turn, would help kids learn more and perform better academically.  Bob, a student at Kennedy High School in California, almost never attended school on a regular basis.  One day though, he met and became friends with a group of people who enjoyed being at school.  Shortly after, Bob started attending school on a regular basis and his grades started improving.  If more people, like Bob, could find school cool then student, on a wide spread basis, would start performing better in class.

More than just thinking that school is cool; students need to believe that the homework that is assigned while they're at school is worth doing.  The fact is that some teachers don't even care weather or not their student do homework while still other teacher don't grade homework when it is turned in.  Students know this fact and therefore, understandably, believe that homework is a waist of their time.  If somehow the belief were spread that homework was the only worth while after-school activity then the mass of students would start doing their homework.  Paul Dreamland, who goes to school in Texas, never did his homework; instead he spent his afternoon getting into trouble.  One day though, a new group of friends started making fun of him and calling him lazy for not doing all of his assigned work.  Now Paul spends his time after school doing his homework and staying out of trouble.   Now that Paul does his assigned work his grades have improved and he is no longer a suspect for most petty crimes in his town.

Along with thinking school is cool and that homework is worth while, students need to be convinced that teachers can be their friends.  It seems that today's student mentality is that the teacher is the enemy.  One can not open up to learn from a teacher that they believe is out to get them.  Jackie Pearson, a young woman from Alabama who is supporting her two kids through prostitution, is a high school drop out.  Like many other students, when interviewed for this essay, she stated "I hated math, so when I first walked into my math class during my sophomore year, without any good reason, I didn't like my math teacher.  Shortly after, my dislike turned into full-blown hatred, I couldn't even look at him yet try and learn from him!"  Jackie is a sad example of what is wrong with today's student mentality; it doesn't have to be that way though.  Juan, a student from Kentucky, was always told by his mother that a teacher could be a friend.  So when Juan first walked into his English class, hating English, he decided to give his teacher a chance.  In less than a month Juan and his teacher developed a strong friendship.  Now Juan wants to get his Masters in English!  Juan, unfortunately, is a rarity in today's student society.  If though, the mass of students were lead to believe that teachers can be friends then there would be less sad stories like Jackie's and more success stories like Juan's!

Without a doubt, reform needs to happen among today's youth.  Hiring special agents to bring about that reform would probably be the most effective way to do it.  Students need to believe that school is cool, homework is worth while, and teachers can be friends.  No matter how reform is achieved, the wide spread wrong that is today's high school society needs to be done away with to open up the door for students to advance in the world that is around them.