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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Prom and graduation in Louisiana

Louisiana teen Samanta Perez's heartbreaking -- and heartwarming -- story of her senior year in the wake of Hurricane Katrina now stretches to graduation and beyond.
Here's an excerpt:

Maybe home is a memory. Everything in my life is always changing. I've become a gypsy again. Last week, I was living in Ponchatoula, then I spent a few nights in a hotel, and after that, I found myself in St. Bernard. In only a few months, I will find myself in a dorm.

But what if a new hurricane comes and takes that away? Katrina, Part II: The Hurricane's Revenge. It'll be like the Jaws series all over again, and no one ever wins in those movies. Trust me. There are always way too many sacrifices and deaths than are really necessary. Maybe one day, they'll learn a perfect way to kill Jaws without having any casualties. Then again, it's not like we have rebuilt the means we have to protect ourselves from the monster. No, we invite it in. We welcome the abomination. We welcome disaster because we don't take the proper precautions to prevent its coming. Instead, in the end, we have to use drastic means. We shoot a tank in the shark's mouth to destroy the creature, and we airlift helpless people from the roofs of their flooded houses.

Sometimes we learn from our mistakes, sometimes we don't. Sometimes, we watch our normalcy be destroyed and we work hard to rebuild what we have lost.
Perez has worked hard to rebuild what was lost -- and so much more. Her journal is a brave, wonderful glimpse into a national disaster that we'll be recovering from for the rest of our lives. If you haven't read it, grab a box of Kleenex and start at the beginning. Her words will stick with you forever.

Catch her latest pieces -- and the many that came before -- on The Tattoo's website at:

Our official policy: We hate blogs.
Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

Two new pieces from Zach Brokenrope

Nebraska sophomore Zach Brokenrope has weighed in with two more of his extraodinary chronicles of high school life in the tiny town of Aurora. You won't want to miss them.

Spring lightning on the Pioneer Trails


Rockin' Omaha

You can catch up with all of Brokenrope's journals for The Tattoo at:

Our official policy: We hate blogs.
Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Don't miss Oscar Ramirez's new review

Be sure to read El Salvador teen Oscar Ramirez's new review of "V for Vendetta" online now. It sounds like an interesting movie. Catch his review at

Our official policy: We hate blogs.
Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

Halls of Shame, Part 6

At Voorhees High School in Lebanon Township, New Jersey, 41 students recently pulled their work from the school's literary magazine, "Images," rather than put up with censorship from a principal run amok, according to a story in the Hunterdon Review.
David Steffan, the principal, axed some 60 poems and photographs, according to the story, because they failed to meet his definition of "community standards."
The mother of the editor told the newspaper that the offenses included such shocking items as a reference to a bottle of chardonnay and a description of a man smoking a cigarette at a train station.
Laramie Silber Boyer, the magazine's editor, resigned with nearly everyone else on the staff. She said the principal's orders "were entirely subjective," according to the paper.
The principal himself couldn't be reached for comment, which is par for the course for a man whose idea of free expression is to have only his own ideas expressed -- but not in public, where the public might weigh in against him.
In any case, Steffan can take pride in securing his own place in our Halls of Shame for putting his own agenda ahead of the hard work of more than 40 students who tried to shed some real light on their community.
Call us crazy, but we'd prefer that 40 students define "community standards" rather than one bossy principal who hasn't got a clue what the First Amendment is all about.

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