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We Want To Hear From You, Class Of 2020

Students throw their mortarboards in the air during their graduation at the University of Birmingham in 2009. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
We need to hear from you.
Today during our spring member drive, put a dollar value on the trustworthy reporting you rely on all year long. The local news you read here every day is crafted for you, but right now, we need your help to keep it going. In these uncertain times, your support is even more important. We can't hold those in power accountable and uplift voices from the community without your partnership. Thank you.

Dear graduating seniors, we want to hear from YOU.

We're asking Class of 2020 grads from around Los Angeles County about their feelings at this moment -- about graduation itself, about entering the workforce or going to college, about doing all of this in the midst of global chaos. A pandemic, mass protests about police brutality, a shaky economy. It all takes a mental and emotional toll at what is already a very emotional time.

So we want to give you a platform to express yourselves. We want to hear and see how you feel through your writing, your artwork, your music. We want you to tell us if you're angry, sad, hopeful, disappointed. We invite you to be vulnerable and be honest with us about whatever you're feeling right now.

Ready to participate? Fill out this form below.

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Do I have to go to a particular school or be a certain age?

Nope. We're hoping to hear from kids attending high schools all over L.A. County. We want as much racial/ethnic and geographic diversity as we can get. No age requirement, you just have to be a graduating high school senior.

What kinds of things are you looking for in terms of submissions?

  • Writing (diary, letter, essay, poetry)
    • Try to keep it under 1,500 words, but if it's a little over that, don't sweat it.
  • Photographs
    • Give us your best 3-6 photos taken on your phone, digital or film camera. They can be in color or black and white, horizontal or vertical. Just make sure they're at least 1000px wide or tall if they're digital files or at least 4" x 6" if you're scanning them into your computer.
  • Painting/drawing/graphic design/sculpture
    • Take a good picture of your artwork on a flat surface in good lighting. Try to crop out any background, but if there is a background, make sure it's one color.
  • Music (instrumental/vocals)
    • Play an original piece or another song on any instrument. Rap for us. Sing a song you wrote or a song that means something for us. Please keep it under 4 minutes.
  • Video diary
    • Use your phone alone or have a friend record you talking about whatever's on your mind. Try to make sure the lighting is good, there's minimal background noise and the camera doesn't shake. Keep it under 4 minutes.
  • Other
    • Give us whatever creative thing you've thought up. Questions about whether it fits the project or on how to submit it? Email and we'll help you out.

If your image, music or video files are larger than 10MB, please provide a Dropbox or Google Drive link so we can access your work and download it.

I'm not sure where to start. What types of things should I talk about/express in my work?

Ultimately, we really just want to hear in your own words how you're feeling. If having trouble finding a starting point, consider trying to answer one or more of the questions below to get the creative juices flowing.

  • How do you feel graduating into the chaos of this world right now? Do you feel hopeful? Are you scared? How do you feel? Why?
  • What advice do you have for your younger classmates?
  • What's next in your life? What are your plans?
  • You've grown up in a time of more frequent media coverage than ever before of acts of police brutality, protests against that violence / protests calling out that violence -- how has that impacted you?
  • How do you feel about the police? How would you describe their relationship to you and your community?

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Can I use profanity in my submission?

You can use profanity, but know that depending on which word(s) is/are used (F-bombs, c-word, b-word) we may have to censor it. (Hey, kids read our site!) We will do our best to not alter the overall integrity of your work.

When is the deadline to submit my work?

The deadline for submissions is Sunday, June 14 at 11:59 p.m.

What kind of personal information do you need from me?

On the submission form, we ask for:

  • First name, Last initial (to protect your privacy)
  • Your age
  • Your race/ethnicity
  • Your school name
  • City you live in
  • Your email address (details on that below)
  • A nice photo of you that shows your face well (if you feel uncomfortable with this, email and we can come up with a creative solution to accommodate you)

When will I see my work published online?

Our projected publication date is Thursday, June 18 to coincide with Juneteenth but things happen in the news business that we sometimes have no control over, like breaking news.

On the submission form we ask for your email address so that we can contact you when the project goes live and where you can find it online. We will only use your email for this purpose. We won't spam you. Pinky swear.

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