By Susan McCrae Vander Voet and Students of Central Peel Secondary School

In December of 1983, the Secretary of State invited a number of National Organizations to consult with the Department on International Youth Year. CCLOW was one of the organizations. Prior to the consultation, CCLOW solicited mini-essays from students at Central Peel Secondary School in Brampton, Ontario, through a very creative teacher of history Mr. Mark Evans. The central question posed to the students, who wrote anonymously, was 'What are the three main concerns of young people today.'

About fifty students from grades nine to twelve responded with some very powerful insights, questions and worries.

The originals of the essays were presented to the Secretary of State, the Honorable Serge Joyal, at the consultation.

Following are excerpts from some of the essays. This sampling reflects both the range of concerns identified and the majority of issues raised.

Grade 10 "The concern is racial pressure. There is still a lot of racism around. Minorities are being left out. Everyone should be treated equal and we should work together."

"In today's life it's common for teenagers (to have) kids and no one to back them up. I have three girlfriends who are under the age of 19 and they're pregnant and they're all having kids. This really ends their lives from my point of view."
Grade 9 "So many young people have died from drinking and driving."
Grade 10

"I feel that the main concern facing young people is: Nuclear War. There is a great deal of tension between many countries, and there are all kinds of revolutions going on. That worries me is that when other countries begin to get involved in these revolutions, and the two super powers take opposite sides, there is a good chance of a nuclear war. This worries me because tensions seem to get worse and worse, the result will be destruction of almost everything. Right now the leaders of countries that have nuclear arms hold all people in their hands, and it scares me!

Grade 11

"What is my future going to be like, will I have a future? Will I become what I want to be? will there be a job out there for me?"

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