Recently, members of the Teen Takeover staff answered the question, “What are you thankful for?”
I am thankful for my ability to choose. I live in a country where I can choose who I vote for, what religion I want to follow, what I want to wear, what I want to eat.
I can be a Democratic Catholic who wears pearls, pops her collar, and eats extra-cheese pizza. Or, I can be a Republican who listens to Britney Spears’ “Oops, I Did It Again!” and eats those amazing cinnamon crunch bagels from Panera.
Choice is a powerful thing. I am thankful I can decide who I want to be and where I want to go. My choices may not always be right, but they are all mine, and I am certainly thankful
— By ABIGAIL STOLLAR, Spring Grove Area Senior High School
Apples, e.e. cummings and more
I am thankful for Golden Delicious apples because they taste amazing.
e.e. cummings’ poetry because it’s off the wall.
My mom coming back from France last night.
My straight hair, because I don’t have to do anything to it in the morning.
Priority applications for colleges because they’re easy and free.
Slip-on shoes, because it takes less effort to get them on.
That (tennis player) Martina Hingis is retiring, even thought she “didn’t” use cocaine. She just isn’t good anyway.
Autumn, because the breeze smells fresh and the leaves catch all the sun
This month, because it’s getting closer to my birthday (Dec. 10).
Lexie, because she let me borrow her copy of “Alias Grace,” which was an awesome read.
Living in Pennsylvania, because I get to experience all the seasons.
Broadway in New York City because every time I see a musical there, it’s absolutely original and exciting.
Mrs. Daugherty, because she’ll probably read this.
The fact that I’m the youngest person in my grade, because I can get away with trick-or-treating.
— By LAUREN AMOROS, West York Area High School
People are nosy.
I’d love to know my friend’s big secret, or the answers to the final. But then people could read
my mind and learn my secrets or what I really think about them.
This is why I’m thankful that humans are not telepathic.
I’m glad that when I think “Ooh, I hate her,” she cannot hear me. Or, when I hide the fact that I like John Doe, he doesn’t know (and realize I actually don’t need help with my home
work). Hopefully, in this technologically advanced world, humans cannot read minds. Secrets
are safe. Let’s keep it that way.
— By LILY KOTANSKY, Susquehannock High School
Thanksgiving dinner, the traditional time to “give thanks” for all the wonderful
things life has to offer, which includes the trite responses of: “My family,” “my education,” “my car,” “my house,” and all other nouns of the sort.
Although I am truly appreciative of all of the above, I have never been a conformist. That’s why, this Thanksgiving, I plan to be thankful for all those rotten, completely awful days. Strange, I know, but I have a point.
Imagine if each day was flawlessly blissful — no arguments, no wrong answers, no drama. Everything always going according to plan. Now, picture living as a Stepford clone. The two lifestyles are quite similar, ne c’est pas?
Granted, living those horrible days makes the world feel unfair with a capital F and U, but without them, why would the next good day be a good day?
I hate bad days as much as anyone else, but I do not know where I’d be
without those perfect days in comparison. That’s right. Look at the situation that way — if there were no bad days, there would be no perfect days.
Maybe a Thanksgiving dinner with family isn’t the best time to say with a smile, “I’m thankful for all the melodramatic catastrophes of my life,” as I reach for the pumpkin pie.
Oh well, I guess I could always add that I’m thankful for my clever twist on the holiday.
— By ALY OWEN,
Dallastown Area High School
I am thankful for my religion. Whenever I start to become weary of this life, I always have it to cling to. I am grateful that, on a regular basis, I am surrounded by people who share my beliefs. God is the orchestrater of my life. I am grateful that, for almost 17 years, I’ve been blessed to wake up each day, because some people die at young ages.
Overall, it is my faith that keeps me strong and my trust in God that keeps me focused. That is why I am thankful this season.
— By JONATHAN MOORE, William Penn Senior High School
I am thankful for Britney Spears.
Where would the world be if it wasn’t for Britney?
I am thankful for her because every time I see her head at the grocery store, it makes me smile. It also gives me something to look forward to. She is unpredictable — from dropping babies to K-Fed to shaving her head bald.
Why, if it weren’t for Britney, thousands of people would be without jobs. Photographers, paparazzi, doctors who give her medication, barbers who make her wigs . . . The list goes on and on.
So, I think we should give a round of applause for Britney Spears!
— By CORINNE ELLIOTT, Christian School of York
I am thankful for political incorrectness. In a society where political correctness is so em
phasized — and even valued — it’s nice to be able to break away from the formalities and explore forbidden territory, so to speak.
I, being a person who has a humorous outlook on life, would probably die of complete and utter boredom if I didn’t dip into some black humor once in a while. In fact, I believe that this is a quality of mine that makes me rather
I can recall several occasions when I would let this “dark side” of myself show through and people would say, “Wow, I would have never expected you to have that kind of humor.” (What can I say, I have an innocent demeanor.)
Examples of such humor are the master works of my favorite comedian, George Carlin — the dead baby jokes. And yes, I’ll admit it, even some racist jokes.
Now, of course, I’m never serious when I tell such jokes and people understand that (usually). It takes a sick sort of humor like mine to really appreciate this breakaway from the
“right” things to say. Because really, the Broadway musical “Avenue Q” said it best: “Everyone’s little bit racist sometimes.” I believe it’s the same when it comes to other sick jokes.
Humans naturally gravitate to the shocking, the morbid. Hey, who wouldn’t laugh about that, especially when our morals instruct us to be the opposite?
Irony is so amusing.
— By ARIEL SIEGELMAN, York Suburban Senior High School
I’m thankful for my friends, who make mesmile on a daily basis.
For color guard, which is the best activity ever.
My (color guard) flag, because I take a lot of anger out on it.
Gymnastics, because it absolutely rocks.
My flexibility, because I can do a lot of awesome stuff.
And, most of all, I’m thankful for my dad, who takes care of me and keeps me going to show me that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Even in times of distress, he still goes strong.
— By AMANDA KNUDSON, Red Lion AreaSenior High School
Internet and friends
I am truly thankful for the Internet. I can find all the information I need while chatting with
friends. When my computer and Internet died, I wasn’t that sad. Days turned to weeks though, and I missed my cyber freedom and chatting with multiple people (ones I know — no stalkers).
When I go online, I can look at the Teen Takeover site, which is really cool — Hint: go to
Anybody who doesn’t have the Internet is missing out on a lot.
I’m also very thankful for my friends. While it’s a cliché answer, I don’t care. They’re there for me when I need them, and vice versa. Without my friends, I’d be very lonely. Social and an Aries, contact with people is what I need. My pals are the best, hands down.
— By RACHEL BRAGG, Dallastown Area Middle School
Daylight Savings Time
I am thankful forDaylight Saving Time. As the season changes, we start waking up todarker
and darker mornings. The time change allows us to wake up to bright, beautiful sunlight. In addition, it provides the perfect chance to catch up on sleep during a very busy time of the year.
— By LEAH SPANGLER, William Penn Senior High School
Queen Street Sheetz
Aside from my parents, sister, dog and health, I am most thankful for the Sheetz on Queen Street.
Before you think I’m completely ridiculous, you have to understand that this isn’t your typical, run-of-the-mill gas station/convenience store.
This Sheetz has practically transformed my life. I pick up my breakfast there every morning en route to school, and I usually stop there for a snack after school each day. The best part of this is that I don’t have tospend a lot of money because the prices are reasonable.
Sheetz has also become a very integral part of my social life. Before Friday night football games, my friends and I all gather there for dinner because A. it’s cheaper than the stadium
food B. the selection beats hot dogs and soft pretzels you’d get at the game.
Perhaps, however, I am most thankful for the Sheetz on Queen Street because they have discovered the formula for the best tuna fish sandwich ever. I’ve already eaten two of them
this week and have every intention of fulfilling that quota again in the next seven days. Even the
worst of days can be salvaged with one of Sheetz’ tuna fish sandwiches, and for that, I’m very thankful.
— By CASEY GEORGE,
York Suburban Senior High School
For my coffee, I am
For inspiring ideas of greatness.
For waking me in the hours of dawn.
My coffee, oh my coffee.
You rid me of hammered nails in my head.
Masking these lightning bolts is what you do best.
My coffee, my friend.
You fill my mug to the brim.
Not diluted with milk or sugar is how you presentyour
My coffee is coffee
Not tea, soda or latte.
My coffee fills me, fixes me, inspires me.<p
And for that, I thank you, my coffee.
— By SETH BLACK, Central York High School
I truly am thankful for having the freedom to be who I want to be and for having the
ability to afford nice things and
travel to different places. Life would be different, for sure, if I lived in another country. I might not have all of the privileges and promises for a good future that I find presented to me in Ameri
My life would not be the way it is without my parents. They let me be the unique individual I
choose to be and have presented me with chances to experience other cultures. They care about
my education and understand and respect the things in my life that I deem important. They give
me space when I need it and accept me for who I am. They let me live the life I choose, and
they love me unconditionlly.
— By ERIN HOLBERG, York Catholic High School
Mom (the alarm clock)
I am, of course, thankful for all of the obvious things that allow me to lead a happy life (food, heat, family, etc.). However, there are many facets of my daily life that I tend to overlook, but which are responsible for keeping me from having a complete meltdown.
To begin, I am thankful for my mother’s persistence in waking me each morning when
my alarm clock fails. Without her — and some good coffee, which I also very much appreciate — I would not be ready to begin my day until noon.
Next, I owe much to the window-defrosting system of my car. For any fellow resident of the
northeastern United States, I’m sure no explanation is needed
about the importance of this automotive feature.
Upon arriving at school, I immediately begin depending on the handy mechanical pencil,
for which I am immensely thankful. A chronic, aggressive pencil user, I would grind my pencils to
nothing in a matter of minutes, if not for this invention.
Also, I am thankful for socks. Honestly, just imagine the blisters.
— By LEXIE GVE,
West York Area High School
I am thankful for my roller luggage.
This may seem odd, or just plain weird. But as I sit here, thinking about what I have
to do this week, packing is first on my mind.
Many trips — short and long — have been accompanied by this reinforced plastic lifesaver.
On a trip to Chicago three years ago, I watched my luggage plummet off the trolley and onto the runway as it was being loaded. Thanks to the plastic casing, it escaped unscathed.
Likewise, the wheels have saved my back, seeing how the fully loaded bag would most
likely weigh as much as I do.
This week, when I embark on yet another trip — this time to Philadelphia — I am sure that
two train rides, multiple subway trips and many city blocks will test the strength of my handy
dandy roller suitcase. When I’m in an airport, bus, subway, or city street, the last thing on my
mind is how thankful I am for my luggage, but as I sit here, reflecting on my travels, it is the
— By BRITTANY PRESTON, Central York High School
This may sound strange, but I am thankful for all of the difficult times that I go through. When I face difficulties, they make me stronger and allow me to sympathize with other who have the same problems. Hard times also make you grateful for things you normally do not think about being thankful for.
This summer, my mom was in the hospital. That experience was probably one of the worst
times in my life. Not only did I miss my mom, but I also missed all of the things she did for me. I
never stopped to think about her daily routine until I had to wash the dishes, help cook supper
and fold the laundry. To this day, I am so thankful for that painful time, because it taught me a lot about myself and my family.
I do not enjoy suffering hardships — no one does. But facing difficulties and overcoming
them provides an opportunity to learn more about yourself and the world and prepares you for
the next problem that will come your way.
— By MARIA STAYER, York Suburban Senior High School
I’m thankful for my parents, but not becausethey’re loving or caring (even though theyare). It’s because they have presented me with an opportunity to do things with my life.
Right now, I am in the process of applying to a college I may not have considered had it not been for my parents. Every night, they hound me to work on the application, e-mail an admissions counselor, or scheule an interview. As annoying as this gets — and, believe me, it’s annoying — I know that my parents know what is best for me and are willing to harass me to no end so that I can achieve what they know I am capable of.
Through all of my high school career, they have done everything possible to ensure that I
will lead a great life. When I receive praise or am rewarded for something, I cannot help but think that none of what I have achieved would be possible without the encouragement, support, love and care of my parents. Thanks Mom and Dad!
— By DYLAN SHIFFER, Central York High School
A path in the woods
My friend and I went for a long walk this morning on the (Heritage) Rail Trail
County Park). We were full of frustration and confusion about our lives, and we couldn’t seem to make any definite decisions.
A mile or two from home, we noticed a small, dirt path away from the main trail, leading into
some woods and decided to follow it. A little mud and a rickety bridge later, we found a large clearing with the sun falling on the leaves and the serene stream nearby.
“Look,” my friend whispered. We stood, awestruck, as a great blue heron lifted its wings and flew slowly, gracefully away. We stood there for a moment, quiet in our safe haven, without need for words.
I never know what life will throw at me next. Our lives are so busy, we seem lost to ourselves often. But this morning, and still now, I was thankful for that path.
We always hear about the road less traveled, but we never know that it can lead to something so simple and peaceful, that needs no explanation.
— By LAURA DZWONCZYK, Susquehannock High School
I’m really thankful for summer camp.
Sure, it doesn’t measure up to the important things like family or friends, but it’s a close second.
Worldview Academy. Not a school or an institution. A summer camp.
For two years now, Worldview Academy has given me the opportunity to discover more about the world and cultures around me through examination of society’s world views.
Now the name maks sense.
In essence, Worldview Academy has given me a foothold to step into on this Mount Everest we call life. It upholds Christian morals and ethics and challenges me to look beyond the
culture I grew up in and reach toward something better for this world.
This is the hope I have when I wake up in the morning. This is the strength I rely on when I
face the day and its challenges. This is how I express my thanks — by living in a manner worthy
of my calling and, to, most importantly, “think hard, think well.”
— By JEN GIAMBALVO, home schooled
Freedom of speech
I am thankful for freedom of speech. The right to profess private ideas is one of the greatest
parts of being an American citizen. On the Teen Takeover blog (www.yorkblog.com/teentakeover), I can write about how much I dislike math class or promote my favorite band.
Imagining having uniform ideas boggles my mind. With freedom of speech and religion, there is an endless cycle of ideas and opinions circulating. Though some people abuse this privilege, others — such as musicians, politicians and entrepreneurs — bask in its light. With Thanksgiving approaching, everyone should realize how mazing it is to be able to announce to the world what we’re thankful for.
— By ALEX BISHOP, York Catholic High School
I’m thankful for the ability to choose how to think and feel about events or problems. To be able to take timeaway from a situation and come back to it later. To be able to change and affect what goes on in my life. To change how I think about something and realize that I was wrong. I’m thankful for the ability to keep an open mind and see that things cannot always be accepted at face value.
— By LYNDSAY BURNS, home schooled
I am thankful for church because before I moved here, I really wasn’t Christian. Being part of a church is a humble feeling. I am thankful for Pastor Jazz (Jasmine Sculark) for helping me realize who I am, and for the changes she has helped me make since I began attending Shiloh(Baptist Church). I am thankful for my mom for being there whenever I needed for anything I faced.
— By SHANTIA GARRETT, West York Area High School
I am thankful for shoes.
They protect our feet from cold weather, from the dirt, and keep alien objects from getting into our feet.
Shoes come in all shapes and sizes. There are long shoes and short shoes; for big feet and small feet. There are snow shoes for winter and sandals for summer. There are shoes for different jobs. Scuba divers wear flippers, while Santa Claus wears heavy boots.
Shoes express individuality. Sneakers for the athletic, ballet flats for the artsy, flip-flops for
the laid-back, waiting-for-summer person.<p
Shoes are necessary, and I’m eternally grateful for them.
— By ANNIE SWADE, Susquehannock High School