Portland teens taught us to be cool

The Rebel energy drink at Dutch Bros comes in flavors that sound like nu metal band names (Aftershock, Double Rainbro), is jammed with more ice than Mt. Hood Skibowl, and often tastes overwhelmingly of raspberry syrup.

We have it on good authority that he is the status symbol of the Class of 2026.

At least if you take his word for it. Over the past month, we’ve reached out to journalism students at two very different Portland high schools and asked them about coffee, fashion, food, music, social media, video games, and more. It is thanks to them that we finally understand the joys of Neymar jerseys and grilled cheese combined with hot chocolate.

Of course, it’s always possible that they were making fun of us. My generation (greetings, fellow millennials) grew up reading about how employees at Sub Pop Records in Seattle cheated The New York Times in believing that the Gen X grunge scene used slang like “crazy pants” and “lamestain.”

But this new generation is… super nice?

They patiently answered our questions (kudos to the kids who had to explain Snapchat to me in terms their grandparents could understand). Just as often, however, they turned them inside out, not just responding to, but providing a captivatingly sharp perspective on the popularity of Taylor Swift, the prevalence of baggy pants, and Portland’s reputation as a miserable walking town. Even the simplest questions elicited nuanced responses, a theme that runs through the following pages.

The kids may be more than okay, but their parents definitely aren’t, as the second story in this pack shows: about the contention and excess surrounding school auctions and what it means for our city’s emptied and beleaguered public schools. . And while we were heartened to discover the wonders of Northwest Children’s Theatre’s new home, a series of interviews with second graders about Portland made us realize a sobering truth: It’s always hard to be young, and arguably even harder in 2023. .

One 8-year-old girl summed up the struggles of the day perfectly, saying that her favorite thing about Portland was “nothing” and her least favorite thing about Portland was “everything.”

It’s disheartening to hear that, but it’s also inspiring that he had the courage to say it. And it sounded like the words of someone who is ready to do what few generations can: end the shit.

The voices of the future are here. We believe in them.

—Bennett Campbell Ferguson, assistant editor for arts and culture

School of Journalism Students WW about what is fashionable and what is not

Are lavish school auctions a crude relic? Or the way to give a future to increasingly smaller classrooms?

Sunnyside Environmental School second graders talk about their likes and dislikes about Portland

Northwest Children’s Theater opens The Judy