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    • I enjoyed reading these essays as much as anything I have read lately (and I read a lot).

      I don't know how to summarize them well, they might be worth using up one of your free New York Times reads if you don't have a subscription. That is if you want to feel good about some of the high school students heading off to college. If these five are any example, wow, we have some awesome teens out there. Made me think, feel gratitude, and be proud that we have teens like these.

      Here are some of the quotes from the essays.

      First, from a teen washing dishes at night to support his family:

      ‘I got the usual looks from people fresh out of bars or parties, either because of the stench of a hard night’s work on my clothes or because I was muttering to myself while feverishly flipping flashcards.’
      —Mark Isai Garcia

      And, a teen as a plumber's assistant to her father:

      ‘Life is a process of accepting the messes and learning to clean them up.’

      —Kelley Schlise

      And, a teen dealing with the ongoing loss of family members from around the dinner table:

      ‘The first thing my Pap said was “Give her a hug, you can’t hurt her now.” ’

      —Victoria Oswald

      And a teen, who loved garbage trucks growing up and decided to work handling garbage for the summer:

      ‘The trash itself was a lens through which I saw what was going on in Chatham.’

      —Andy Patriquin

      And a teen who loved the library for everything it offered her in her challenging situation:

      ‘When we had nowhere to live, we would spend hours at the library, using what I thought to be the key to the world: library computers.’

      —Astrid Liden