Summer Reading Contest Winner, Week 3: On ‘San Francisco Will Spend $600,000 to Erase History’

Summer Reading Contest Winner, Week 3: On ‘San Francisco Will Spend $600,000 to Erase History’

Thank you to the 557 teenagers who participated in the third week of our 10-week Summer Reading Contest, and congratulations to Jaehyun Hong, our winner, as well as to our many runners-up and honorable mentions.

Scroll down to take a look at the variety of topics — from celery juice, vintage swimwear and bus-stop art to what it’s like to be a teenager today — that caught the eyes of our participants this week. You can find the work of all our winners since 2017 in this column.

And please remember to always check the top of our contest announcement to find the right place to participate, any week from now until Aug. 23.

Jaehyun Hong from St. Paul, Minn., chose an Opinion piece headlined “San Francisco Will Spend $600,000 to Erase History” and wrote:

As a high school student, most of my day is being told what I should and shouldn’t do. I’m told when to have lunch, where to have lunch, and no, I can’t eat lunch in a student workspace. I’m told when to be quiet and when I can speak.

Given the non-democratic setting of schools in general, I shouldn’t be surprised that students had little input in the San Francisco School Board’s decision to spend $600,000 to erase Arnautoff’s art at George Washington High School.

I was interested in “San Francisco Will Spend $600,000 to Erase History” because of the irony it presented. The irony is that the people who are most affected by the removal of the art — the students — have the least say in the issue. It doesn’t matter that many students expressed that they were against the destruction of the art.

It also doesn’t matter that Arnautoff’s art is a rare New Deal piece that acknowledges slavery and native American genocide in our country’s founding.

I am almost 18; many of George Washington High School’s students are near the age of a legal adult. We can handle the reality of history. Destroying allegedly disturbing historical art is not the answer to a successful generation of Americans; coddling high school students — especially against their own will — is less of one.

I hope that school boards will start taking student input more seriously before making this kind of grave decision. I believe that’s what American democracy and the American spirit should stand for.

Swetha Berana on “Don’t Tell Me When I’m Going to Die

Neha Bhalla on “The ‘Euphoria’ Teenagers Are Wild. But Most Real Teenagers Are Tame.