Cafeteria Chats: Teens work to avoid trouble

Dec 30, 2016

High school students are navigating through a number of distractions, but students explain how they avoid trouble. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley met with several students at the Charter School for Applied Technologies (CSAT) in Buffalo for our ongoing "Cafeteria Chats" series.

Students at the Charter School for Applied Technologies (CSAT) in Buffalo post for a selfie as part of WBFO's "Cafeteria Chats" series.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

You might think a noisy cafeteria is not the best place to have serious discussions with students, but it actually was the ideal setting to talk about their school life. We met with nine students during three lunch breaks and what unfolded was some insightful information about the life of teens.

You often hear educators say that students do well when they have support from their home lives. The students that we spoke say that’s making a big difference in their lives.

“My dad’s there a lot. He keeps me on track a lot, and my little brother is like the most adorable people in the world, so they’re like a great motivation,” said Kiarah Smith, CSAT senior.

Smith tells us home support is helping to keep her on track.

“Do you see students that don’t have that?” questioned Buckley. “I think with those kids that have troubles like that – in school you’ll see like there’s really close friends. Everybody has a friend. I’ve never seen one person by themselves ever, like everybody has a friend – so there is always someone to come and support them and help them out,” responded Smith.   

Students at the Charter School for Applied Technologies (CSAT) in Buffalo for our ongoing "Cafeteria Chats" series.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Smith said her biggest issue is just “paying attention."

“Well, you know, not everybody grew up in the same situations, but ‘um when you see some of that – you’ve got to have some sympathy, you know, you’ve got to put yourself in their shoes,” remarked Roman Laney, junior/senior at CSAT.

Laney has a lot of pressure academically. He works hard and he has strong support at home to accomplish his academics.

“That my parents gave me throughout my life, that just gives me, you know, all the self-esteem I need to just keep on pushing me to go to farther in life and just work my hardest,” said Laney.

Laney is lucky – he has the proper role models. But he realizes there is teen violence and drug issues all around.

“What about concerns of teenage violence and drugs?” Buckley asked.

“The drug use is probably increasing.  As young adults I think we should try to do that less because that can kind of ruin your life and your future, but the violence – yeah – like fighting and all that stuff – we should just keep the peace, keep the unity and just do less of those things,” responded Laney.

The male students pointed out that from time to time there is school fighting. Nathan Hernadez is a CSAT junior. He said he has witness behavior issues in school that includes fighting and disrespect toward teachers.

“I see a lot of behavior problems such as like people cursing, fights. The other day a fight broke out. It was in the hallway. We usually see yelling, kids talking back to the teachers when they are told to do something and students just like stop doing work,” Hernadez explained. “It makes me disgusted because I’m trying to get like a good education. I want to be in a high college. I want to feel like I’m safe here and sometimes I don’t.”

But Hernadez told us the school is very good at dismantling the fighting.

CSAT junior Wesley Kubasiak said he has family support and works hard to avoid trouble spots like avoiding drug use. 

“What is difficult for a teenager’s life here at school?” questioned Buckley. “Probably peer pressure. Being pressured into things you might not want to do, like drugs, which is the main one, cigarettes,” replied Kubasiak. “Peer pressure is definitely a big topic.”  

Kubasiak said what helps him avoid trouble is “good friends”.

“A lot of people that support me and keep me on track. My brother’s best friends, just teachers, real positive energy,” Kubasiak answered.

several students at the Charter School for Applied Technologies (CSAT) in Buffalo for our ongoing "Cafeteria Chats" series.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

We would like to thank the following CSAT students who participated in our first-ever "Cafeteria Chat" who were also heard in part I & II:

Shari Csizmadia

Nathan Hernadez

Wesley Kubasiak

Roman Laney

Lieoneo Prodomo

Kiarah  Smith

Shania Dean Smith

Dennison Stone  

Katie Jo Williams

Over the next few months you will be hearing from Western New York teens as we continue our "Cafeteria Chats".  In February we will be traveling to the Niagara Falls City School District.