On the Cover
By Rocio, age 17, California,
and Stephanie Lynn, age 23, Massachusetts
Welcome to our supersized, prom-theme April issue. Inside you will find a record 23 articles and features, including prom stories, tips, and pics. Plus, we have a totally cute original short story by Adrianna, some very cool poetry, book & movie reviews, an international fashion feature from our UK writer and site model Lareesa, Sarah's sobering true account of date rape, and an article by Stephanie Lynn on healthy and unhealthy cafeteria food that will forever change the way you eat lunch. We especially want to call your attention to two really classy prom articles - Lauren's "My Picture Perfect Prom" and Mayra's "The 'It' Dress". This issue is a must read!!
Btw, technically not all the photos in the issue are from proms - we accepted a variety of teen formal wear, so represented are proms, dinner dances, a junior ball, and even a quinceanera. For those not familiar with this Latina rite of passage, it's the celebration of a girl's 15th birthday - kind of a "Sweet 15". In fact, we chose now 17 year old SDM staff writer Rocio's quinceanera photo for our April cover. Rocio, who joined the SDM team in September 2007, contributed an article and a review of the movie Juno for this issue.
Rocio says, "It's been a blessing writing for the magazine. I never thought that Steph would see much talent in my writing. But I guess she saw something in me that many others didn't. And I thank her for this, because if it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have discovered my true passions. I take this opportunity to write as my portal to a whole new dimension. I am so stressed out with the lifestyle I have had to adapt to on the weekdays, that when I write, it just relieves me of my worries. For me, writing is the right thing, even if others thought it wasn't."
She continues: "I am so passionate about writing and journalism. My ultimate goal is to become a journalist and eventually be editor-in-chief of my own magazine. My intended major is journalism. Ultimately I want to become involved in the field of education. I applied to 16 schools and have been accepted to two of them."
Writing also gives Rocio an outlet to express what's important to her. "I am so strongly an advocate for social justice. The unequal treatment of immigrants of all ethnicities is, in my opinion, extremely unfair, and should be abolished."
Rocio is very involved in school activities. "I'm a peer counselor at my high school. I help out students who need assistance with college and career issues. I also edit and publish a peer-to-peer newsletter every two months. The newsletter ranges from college application help to our 'Student of the Month'. I'm really proud of the newsletter because in a low-income community like the one I live in to know that kids are getting to college instills within me so much satisfaction. I am also the president of the Interact/Rotary Club at my school. We have all kind of events - bake sales, caramel apples sales, canned food collections - you name it, we do it. I have also been in short flags for a while now. It's like drill team combined with color guard."
Rocio's favorite authors are Aldous Huxley, J.D. Salinger, William Wordsworth, and Lemony Snicket. For films, she lists Juno, American Beauty, A Walk to Remember, Forrest Gump, Mean Girls, Titanic, The Parent Trap, and Accepted.
On TV, Rocio enjoys watching Law and Order: SVU, America's Next Top Model, Spongebob Squarepants, The Simpsons, and Family Guy. When it comes to music, her tastes are eclectic. "I listen to anything from indie to reggae. It all depends on the mood I'm in."
She concludes, "In part, my family, friends and experiences have shaped who I am. I never thought I'd be involved in so much or become the person I am today. Those who have believed in me have encouraged me to follow my dreams and passions. I am blunt, but only because my experiences have made me this way. It's not easy succeeding in an overcrowded high school, but I did it. I could've very easily become a drug addict and dropped out of school, but I chose not to. To all those who have believed in me and stood by my side through thick and thin, my undivided gratitude goes to you."
"You can never find yourself until you step out of your comfort zone."