Teens of expression: Nick Rodriquez

Nick Rodriguez dances, raps and plays guitar for the garage band Disruptive Perceptionz.

Nick Rodriguez, 16, never seems to just sit around. If he isn’t dancing, he’s writing rap lyrics. Or practicing guitar for his newly formed garage band, Disruptive Perceptionz. Or drawing or trying to improve as a graffiti artist. And he wants to act, too; he just hasn’t found an outlet yet.

Teens of expression: Aurielle Sisson-White

To combat summer boredom and express herself, Aurielle Sisson-White, 16, has turned to her own creativity. “A few weeks ago I nailed some boards together and painted a mural in my room,” she says off-handedly, as if she were mentioning what she ate for lunch.

Teens of expression: Marcus Miller

Marcus Miller, 17, writes songs, but it took him a long time to be comfortable sharing his music. His reluctance to express himself through music was even more acute at Hickman High School, where he thinks the social climate can be stifling.

Teens of expression: Tim Douglas

Tim Douglas, 18 and a recent graduate of Hickman High School, does not write for a grade. He writes for himself. Tim writes the way he speaks: boldly and to the point. He often talks about race and identity, even when it gets personal and uncomfortable.

Teens of expression

Americans of every generation have to discover who they are and what they stand for. Coming to grips with their own reality and finding their place is a recurring rite of passage. Expression, in all of its forms, has been the means individuals have used so that they might define their time, instead of letting their time define them.

Teens of expression: Jade Li

Jade Li, 17, spends more than 10 hours a day online, taking care of her half dozen blogs. Typically, she gets online about 10 a.m. and checks e-mail, Facebook and MySpace. And then there is writing to do. “My blogs are how I feel, it’s like a diary or journal sometimes,” Jade says.

Reconstructing Confucius

At first, the Web site director and his schoolteacher wife sent their 5-year-old son to a Confucian school in this central Chinese city simply because it was two minutes from home. But the more they learned about the school, the more they liked what they saw.

Eating disorders have no age limit

Kelli Smith was nervous as she walked into the Philadelphia treatment center, seeking help at last for her anorexia. Looking around at the other patients, she was struck by how young they seemed.

Everybody gets to participate in gathering the news

It’s not every day that you get a headline like “helicopter crashes” in our fair town. As a matter of fact, I’m not sure the last time I saw one of those birds flitting above the tree line. But crash we had on Tuesday.