Because I write for a newspaper — and am generally interested in our community and the world at large — it’s no surprise I spend a lot of my time reading the Kenosha News and other news sources.

Keeping up on the news is a great way for me to be an informed voter, and it’s a big assist in trivia contests, too. (If the “Jeopardy” producers call, I have to be ready.)

But it can also be, let’s face it, a bit depressing.

A news diet that is heavy on violent crime, killer storms, deadly flu viruses and plans to cut federal funding to a Great Lakes cleanup program and the Special Olympics (both since rescinded, thank goodness) is enough to make me pessimistic about our future. The result? I feel cynical and hopeless.

And then I read about Today’s Teen and immediately feel better.

The Kenosha News feature showcases a local high school senior every day, and it’s a joy to read them.

Consider what some of these kids list as their lifetime goals:

Sindhu Shankar of Indian Trail High School and Academy wants to “become a physician and work toward bringing adequate medical care to individuals, particularly children, in impoverished areas around the world.”

Amanda Beascochea of Reuther High School, who plans to study nursing, hopes to “live a happy life and help others.”

Abigail Snyder of Tremper High School (nice last name, Abigail!) is planning to study civil engineering and hopes to make the concept of “green building” become a reality by researching “more cost-efficient ways to employ sustainable systems on a larger scale.” (She’s also a band kid and does the New York Times crossword puzzle, so I have high hopes for Abigail ... even if I’m way out of my depth when it comes to civil engineering projects.)

Bradley Moore, a student at Shoreland Lutheran High School, says his dreams aren’t heroic, but I disagree. “All I really want out of life is to make a positive impact in the lives of others,” he said. “If I can have even a sliver of an impact on someone’s life that others have had on mine, I will consider myself more than accomplished.” Bradley, there’s nothing more heroic in this world than helping others.

Crystal DiBiase of St. Joseph Catholic Academy hopes to become “a caring doctor who always puts the patient’s needs first.” Amen to that.

Abigail Rodriguez of Harborside Academy is a woman after my own heart; we both enjoy “going to the library to read.” She has big goals, too, hoping to “be a great public leader throughout the world and speak about finding solutions to some of our common problems.” You go, girl!

Esra Maududi of LakeView Technology Academy, who plans to study molecular biology, hopes to use that knowledge to “provide medical care to those in impoverished countries, as well as pioneer cost-effective treatments.” Isn’t that better than cloning Barbra Streisand’s dog?

Heidi Dittmer of Central High School hopes to become a teacher and “make a difference in children’s lives every day for the better.”

Nicholas Daly, a Bradford High School student who plans to study acting, wants to “change our divisive culture by teaching empathy and unity through theater.”

Indian Trail’s Brooke Bear is, literally, reaching for the stars after high school. She hopes “to play a role in moving humanity forward, through engineering spacecraft used for space exploration and the colonization of other planets.”

This is just a small sample of the wonderful kids right here in our community; you can get your own dose of hope every day with a new Today’s Teen in the Kenosha News.

So maybe all hope isn’t lost. These young people are well on their way to continuing the American tradition of working toward greatness, and they’re not alone. Every person, every life, every nation is a work in progress, but as long as young folks see potential, I think we’ll be fine. Thanks, kids. Now, back to the news.

Have a comment? Email Liz at esnyder@kenoshanews.com or call her at 262-656-6271.

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