We Are America

Voices of the Nation's Future

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Photo ofOwen Kowalski

When I was in elementary school at Sandy Hook in Strasburg, Virginia, I was just a kid, innocent and unaware of the world. When I went into middle school at Peter Muhlenberg in Woodstock, Virginia, a lot of things changed. Some of them were that I went through puberty, I moved twice, and I started listening to the news much more often. Inevitably, time went on, and I matured. 

I used to live in the lower half of a two-story house in Strasburg because my grandparents lived upstairs. After five years there, I moved to Woodstock with my family and lived in a very old two-story duplex with no front yard and weird neighbors. I am glad that we only stayed there for about a year because I didn’t like that house. 

Then we moved to a Cape Cod-style house in another part of Woodstock. When we were driving by it one day, we saw a double rainbow over it, and that is how my parents decided it was the one.  It has a very nice backyard. My best friend lives just down the street around the corner, and the neighbors are very nice. Compared to the last place I lived, this house is truly an amazing paradise. Once you live in a place long enough, it becomes your home.

I try to be caught up with as much recent news as I can, and I listen often. Unfortunately, it's usually negative news, but occasionally there is something on there that gives me a little hope for the world and that really makes me genuinely happy.  I listen to news mainly on the radio, and on the radio I mostly listen to NPR. Other than that, I skim the headlines on news websites. I am rarely surprised by the amount of political things on the news. I think knowing what is going on around me and in the world will eventually help me become a better citizen of America in the future. 

Puberty is quite awkward, and I deal with it every day. For example, your voice cracks, you have an excessive amount of pimples, and your armpits sweat, leading to smelling really bad at times. When you are going through puberty, you are probably also going through middle school. Middle school is stressful, but it does have its positives. It can make you better at managing your time, and it has also helped me become more independent in my schoolwork. It is school, so it probably should teach me something. School is also usually when I see my friends the most.

Through all of the things that have happened in the past three years I changed; I grew up . What I like changed, too. What I like to eat, the kind of music I listen to and my friends changed or were new people. I honestly think that I have improved as a person because of these changes.

© Owen Kowalski. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person's teacher.