Why teens are leaving

Posted: Wednesday, January 14, 2004

In your Thursday paper, I noted an article stating that a large percentage of teens are leaving Juneau after graduation. I would like to give my opinion as a 14-year-old as to why this might be occurring.

First, Juneau, for all its sophistication and style, is a box. The walls are made of cloud, water and mountainous rock. Like young rabbits in a hole, Juneau children are content to stay safe and sound in their home, which they know every inch of. As the years go by, though, they feel a growing desire to poke their heads out and explore the outside world. Teens elsewhere in the U.S. may not feel this near as much because of their much greater accessibility to the rest of the nation.

With active parents, teens may well have done and seen everything Juneau has to offer. With only one high school, there will be no fresh faces in the dating community after graduation. When I think of limiting myself to a job here and only being able to find someone to marry here, one thought comes to mind: "Run far and fast and do not come back."

I have another theory, but I must tread very carefully in this area. My readers will keep in mind that I have contact with only a fraction of the student body, so I could be totally off-base here. I am not sure how it started; maybe the few teens who have taken interest in politics happen to be influential, but it has become cool to dislike the United States government. Yell into any five of my six classes, "Who thinks our government is totally messed up?" and hands will shoot up like weeds in July. Proceed to ask why or what they do different and you will hear only one or two voices out of 30.

The natural thing to do is to make plans to live in Europe where violin music is always in the air, and life is villas and vineyards. I'm not saying that all these teens are making for foreign countries, but these fantasies get the idea going that Juneau is not the place for them. About half the young ladies and gentlemen I know have plans for long-term travel, if not citizenship on foreign soil.

Vincent Wagner


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