Young Observers: Mid-May Edition

As soon as I learned the news last week on the imminent approval of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for youths 12 to 15 years old, I conducted a survey among a handful of preteens and teens in our City on whether they plan to get the vaccine. They quickly responded and I got these results:

• Yes, I will get the vaccine  – 30 of 40 respondents (75%)

• No, I will not get the vaccine –  10 of 40 respondents (25%)

I am among the 75% (3 in 4 respondents) who plan to get the vaccine and I hope that our eagerness would encourage our parents to get us vaccinated. Most polls conducted including those reported a week ago by The New York Times, US News, and Medicine.Net indicate that only 29% of parents in the US are willing to get their children vaccinated. The enthusiasm among the survey respondents  shows  that these members of Generation Z are not affected by the mindset of their parents. While this enthusiasm is encouraging, it is also important for preteens and teens to understand how this vaccine will affect them. So far, the data show that the Pfizer vaccine for our age group has 100% efficacy and the possible side effects are similar to those commonly experienced by adults. For example, my mom got the Pfizer vaccine and had a sore arm for one day,  which is a common side effect. Personally, I would like to wait for a month or two to see how the vaccine goes with other kids  so that I am prepared when it is my turn. I am aware that there are many posts online spreading false information on side effects, so I need to make sure that I use reliable sources.  By having the right information and by clarifying misunderstandings and fears, we can educate our peers to help in this battle against the pandemic.  So far, over 100 million adult Americans have been fully vaccinated. But, with the recent emergency approval for the vaccine to be given to 12- to 15-year-olds, middle and high schoolers like us will help boost the quest for herd immunity.

A common reason for getting the vaccine among the respondents is the freedom to finally meet up with their friends group and feel less worried about getting infected.  No one wants to remain isolated for a long time and the vaccine offers a solution that could help us return to our normal lives. Just hearing about this vaccine makes me excited for the summer and the next school year.

“Speech is a sport. It takes time, effort, and perseverance to keep practicing the same speech over and over again,” says Angela Larsh, one of Fullerton School District’s (FSD)  speech advisers.  But for students and coaches in FSD, it is worth all the hard work as the District advances to the nationals in this year’s  Speech and Debate competition set for June 13.  Laguna Road won the large school category for having the most winners at the California Michael Leigh State Championship held last month. Beechwood, Richman, Rolling Hills, Hermosa, Fisler, and Sunset Lane also won in various categories that include  storytelling, declamation, poetry, prose, informative, and original oratory.

I am most familiar with storytelling because my brother practices it. To perform a speech, one is expected to recite lines perfectly, stay focused, use gestures, and change one’s voice with each character’s part.  Students practice their own specific speeches and add their own “flavor,” such as details and descriptions.  In the meantime, eight lucky students from each FSD school will know this week if they are among the 3rd to 7th graders who will join the free speech and debate camp from June 28 through July 8. For those interested in joining the Speech and Debate Club of FSD next school year, please talk to your teacher,  check out the FSD website, or click this link.

After recently announcing the coming of her new album Happier Than Ever, 19-year-old singer Billie Eilish took the No. 1 spot on Apple Music’s Pre-Add Chart. The Album is expected to release on July 30, and fans are  anticipating the collection in which the singer takes an entirely new aesthetic away from her iconic neon green style. She offers a sneak-peak with the single “Your Power” released on April 29. The latest song communicates a profound message and impresses international listeners as it appears on the U.K.’s Top 10 charts. As she teases her fans with short snippets of her song and Vogue magazine covers, the public anticipates what more the young artist has to show.

Since the quarantine, I think we can all agree we slipped into a lot of bad habits—eating more food, staying on the couch all-day, and binge watching Netflix. But of course, one day, all of that needs to change. Exercising is so important in our daily life because it affects our health. Of course, we can’t do all these body workouts on YouTube, but even just a simple walk in the park is nice. Getting fresh air helps us become less stressed, and it is a great way to bond with family members. Biking around the neighborhood is another option.  Just recently, I’ve been going on walks with my mom, and it helps me loosen up tight muscles and nerves. Sometimes, if I have a very important test and cannot go for walks, I do my studying outside and enjoy the breeze.  Make sure to at least get outside and breath in some actual fresh air.

Joan He has done it again. After reading the masterpiece that was Descendant of the Crane, I jumped at the chance to read her next book, and I’m so excited to say that The Ones We’re Meant to Find did not disappoint in the slightest.  With her sophomore novel, Joan has cemented herself as one of my favorite authors. Her sense of character is brilliant, her writing exquisite, and her work genius. She manages to pull an entirely messy response from the reader—a mix of emotions that simply cannot begin to be described.

Cee and Kasey are sisters, one longing for another and one longing to forget. Cee is lonely, stranded on an island, left with nothing but memories of her sister. Kasey is witty and smart but wants to forget her lost sister, Celia. They were once whole together then roughly torn apart by waves of salt and differences in belief.

Joan He’s writing is absolutely nothing like I’ve seen before. She writes vivid language rendered in gorgeous prose, and the messages of this book are delivered without holding back. They left a huge imprint crashing down upon me, a never-ending deluge of words and emotion. But above all, this book is about what it means to be human, how we’re never alone no matter how lonely we feel. And finally, it is about the ones we’re meant to care for, desire, and love; the ones we’re meant to find.

3 replies »

  1. Hi Francine! I love your article. But i think the children just like the adults must consult their doctors before going for vaccination. Take care. Make sure you have clearance from your doctor before receiving the vaccine.

  2. I just love the Young Observer’s page. All the young writers are so insightful. Really well done.

  3. I totally understand parents’ reluctance to have their young children vaccinated. I am very much pro-vaccine and was vaccinated two months ago, but I’m old. The risk analysis is much in my favor: The virus presents a bigger threat to me than does the vaccine. But so early in its marketing, there are unknowns about the vaccine. For young children, who are virtually untouched in any serious way by the virus, this may not be the case; we just don ‘t know. Also, it is absolutely astounding–makes no sense whatsoever–that children who are vaccinated would still have to wear masks to school or anywhere else. Maybe the President should take off his mask when he is outside, around no one else, and in the sunshine. That would set a good motivating example for kids to be vaccinated.