In an age where teenage girls are given media attention for being fashion-concsious, being sexy or causing scandals, a group of Woodward teens have shown they have strong minds, strong value systems and a strong understanding of today's politics, technology and culture.

Recent Woodward High School graduates Lora Bryant, Tayler Powell and Darsea Finley voiced their opinions on the world today and have proven that teenage girls can be taken seriously in today's society.

Growing up in a fast-paced technology age these girls can barely remember life before the Internet and cell phones but don't think technological advancement is going to slow down any time soon.

Because technology is ever increasing its pace Bryant does not think that any one generation will be better than the next at properly handling it.

"I figure that by the time any of our generation is old enough to be senators, or whatever, the new technology will be so advanced that they can't quite grasp it," said Bryant.

Bryant said the day is not too far away when people will have "smart houses" and be able to make a phone call to their kitchen stove if need be.

"The dependence that we have on technology is horrible," said Bryant.

Bryant also said today's technology creates a more obvious way of flaunting wealth and is creating "more of a class system."

Powell said school age children are not immune to the age old prejudice against those who are not wealthy.

"The 'popular' kids are the ones who have money," said Powell. "And they brag about it."

Finley hypothesized that wealthy adults show off their money by the purchases they make for their children.

"After you become an adult it's not what you get but it's what you buy your kids," said Finley.

Powell said school age children today are ridiculed if their technology is out of date, such as a student who listens to a portable CD player is made fun of for not listening to an iPod.

"Not everyone can afford (the newest) technology," said Powell.

But the competition and the popularity contests do not end when someone enters adulthood. According to Bryant "even the soccer moms" with the Lincoln sport utility vehicles look down on those who drive minivans.

Powell, Finley and Bryant all agreed that technology is not only creating a more obvious class system but breaking up families.

Computers, video games and television are now babysitting kids, and fazing out family time.

"You don't sit down and read to your kids anymore and teach them their alphabet," said Bryant. "The TV does it, or the Internet."

The girls also said the desire to always buy the newest technology is fueling the fire to the rising rate of failed marriages in the United States.

"The divorce rate in this country is over 50 percent," said Bryant.

"Money is the biggest cause of divorce," said Powell.

However, there seems to be no immediate solution to the problems caused by technology.

"We're stuck with it," said Powell, because no one wants to give up their dependence on technology.

Powell did find a positive light on increased technology use in the midst of the ever increasing amount of Internet scandals.

"I heard now employers will look at their employees on Facebook and look at their pictures and see what they do on the weekends," said Powell. "I think it is kind of good because maybe the person that needs the job who isn't the outgoing person like the one who goes and drinks on the weekends, (the employer) might look at her and looks like she does decent things."

As the world moves on in time, more history is created and more education is desired. However the recent college craze has its ups and downs according to Powell, Bryant and Finley.

A number of years ago the percentage of high school students who went on to college was lower and the number of jobs requiring a college degree was also lower. Now a college drop out is becoming increasingly more equivalent to a high school drop out.

"Sometimes it is a bad thing because students think they have to go to college and they get so in debt," said Powell.

"Everybody's interests change," said Bryant who thinks that many people are swimming in debt for a degree they may not even use.

The girls do agree that a college education is a good thing and a "must" in today's society because people should have a degree to fall back on if hard times come.

Finley said many employers do not care what you're degree is in, just as long as you have one which is a good thing for those who received a degree in something and changed their mind about what they wanted to do in life later.

"It leaves room for a change in decisions," said Finley.

Education officials have recently begun implementing "career tracking," a system which starts as early as elementary school, helping students receive the proper education for the job they are best suited for.

However, Finley believes the system is inefficient and could lead students down the wrong path.

"It just makes me confused," said Powell who has taken career testing and the results showed she should take a job in which she has no interest.

While the public education system makes an attempt to put students on the right track for their adult lives and to give everyone a chance, Bryant does not believe students are challenged enough academically in school.

"There's not enough emphasis on education," said Bryant. "The curriculum is focused on the kids who don't try." Bryant said she believes standards are lowered to the level of those who do not try to succeed.

"There's no punishment for people who do bad," said Powell. Powell said the students who do not care about school or try to succeed do not receive proper consequences for their actions and being bad is "cooler" than doing well.

"In high school you are frowned upon (by your peers) for doing well," said Bryant.

According to Finley the problem is trickling down from the high schools into the junior high schools and elementary schools.

"The little kids are becoming worse," said Finley, who said the days when the freshman were afraid of seniors are long gone. "Kids are doing horrible things and no one is stopping them."

"Parents don't punish their kids or encourage their kids to learn," said Powell.

The girls returned, once again, to the topic of technology and the emphasis on wealth to explain the problems with today's students.

While the public education system continues to "work the kinks out" of the curriculum and programs, Powell, Bryant and Finley have a clear understanding of the work force and the qualifications they will need to acquire as they further their education.

The education system is striving to improve methods of preparing students for the work force but Powell, Bryant and Finley think there are some problems in the job category that cannot not be remedied, at least not any time soon. Those problems are sexism and racism.

Bryant said she thinks that sometimes employers are so afraid of discriminating against women that the discrimination reverses and men are the victims of unfair treatment.

Bryant also said the young generation could feasibly lose its racist and sexist tendencies but there are things that interfere with that.

"Our media is giving attention to things that put us in the past," said Bryant. "Negative attention gets the most attention."

Bryant said the media brings attention to existing racism but Finley said the older generation is also passing down racist beliefs to the younger generation.

"When this presidential election started I just saw a group of candidates and then the news and media pointed out that it was a big deal. It never occurred to me that one of them was a woman and one of them was black," said Bryant. "I think racism is an issue because older people in society make it an issue."

Bryant said one of the reasons the United States is so great is because of equal opportunities but members of society need to be careful and try to keep the equality pure.

"You have the country that all the songs are sung about but then again affirmative action has been taken so far that we have reverse discrimination," said Bryant.

Racism and sexism are not the only areas reverse discrimination affects.

"You can't learn about the Bible in school," said Bryant. "But in California you can learn about the Koran."

"You can learn evolution," said Powell. "But you can't learn creationism."

While many people are voting for candidates who they believe will cure the problems in the country, fewer people are actually going out to vote.

"A lot of people don't care about voting," said Finley.

"They think their vote doesn't make a difference," said Powell.

"They just assume their government is going to take care of them," said Bryant. "Nobody in America in this generation, unless you've just immigrated, knows oppression."

"No one has ever been told they can't do something," said Finley.

While the girls think the freedom in this country is being taken for granted, the amount of people who do not vote does not shock them.

"The ignorant will always outnumber the ones who stay informed," said Bryant.

In that aspect, Powell, Bryant and Finley think that while the problems in the today's society have changed, the roots of the problems are age old and society will continue in the same manner it always has.

It may surprise some that these teenage girls do not seem to be bothered by the typical issues that are always discussed when it comes to young girls. Issues such as striving to look like airbrushed supermodels are far from their minds.

"Real people are attracted to personality," said Bryant.

Which goes to show that America's teenage girls do not all fall under the stereotypical prototype that receives the most attention. Not all teenage girls need designer clothes. Not all teenage girls are on the brink of falling victim to a leaked Internet video.

Some teenage girls, girls like Bryant, Powell and Finley, are intelligent, active members of American society who understand current issues and have the mental capacity to solve the future problems that will be theirs when they inherit the earth.

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