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The teenage years are full of contradictory emotions. Hormonal overrides and the change from child to adult may bring both real and imagined conflicts to the fore. Much of this is really hyped and gives teenagers a bad name. There is ample evidence to show that the journey from child to adult has its positive and appreciable side. Some of these stories stand as real inspiration to the fact that when faced with a crisis teenagers are comfortably capable of making adult decisions without supervision.

Wearing dapper three-piece suits and lovely gowns, 20 seniors in Florida were heading to their prom. Prom night is a very important day for graduating students and they invariable turn up dressed as beautifully as the movies stars at the Oscars. Travelling in a hired limousine, the students were horrified to see a van travel haphazardly and then overturn right before their eyes. Without hesitation, the 20 dressed-up youth scrambled to the overturned van and started to help the victims out. One child, stuck beneath the car seat, was pulled out by the limousine driver. Missing the prom is unheard of and unimaginable. That year's prom saw a bunch of students with bloodied dresses and suits, the horror of which was nicely countered by their satisfied and proud countenances that shone with triumph.

At Sacramento High School, the school baseball team was finishing their last practice for the season. Nearby, a mother picking up her daughter from school knocked into the car in front and in panic quickly reversed, running over her daughter who got pinned under a tyre. Hearing her screams, the baseball team jumped over their fences to get there and together they physically lifted the car off the girl as their coach dragged the girl out. She later made a complete recovery because of the prompt action by the baseball team.

The boys never stopped to think that it could be impossible to lift a car. They didn't have the luxury of time to think. They acted promptly and instinctively and that was really the best thing that happened.

In Oregon 14 year old Marcos Ugarte was doing homework with his dad. The two of them saw an orange-red hue down their street. When they ran to their neighbour's home they found that four if the five inhabitants of the house were safe. Then the neighbour said that his 8 year-old son was trapped in a room on the second floor of the now completely blazing house. Marcos' father tried to enter the house but was driven back by the smoke and heat.

Without waiting to think, Marcos hurriedly placed a ladder under the second-storey window. With his father holding the ladder steady, he quickly scampered up, broke the window and called out to the child, directing him through the thick smoke by constantly speaking to him. The little body Cody was totally unhurt. In Marcos' own words, "I can't really consider myself a hero. I think anyone would have done what I did."

When rivers freeze over in winter they draw many who think of skating on the surface. There is inherent danger in this because the ice is never of the same thickness everywhere. Falling through thin ice is a big hazard because the freezing waters below can be fatally cold.

16 year old Kole Devisscher was driving by a stretch of the Red River in Winnipeg when he noticed a blue jacket floating in the freezing waters. Curious, he backed his truck to take another look. He found a young boy struggling to get out of a crack in the ice. He immediately used his truck's tow strap to pull the boy out, but the boy could not hold on to the strap because his hands were frozen. Kole immediately made a loop of the strap and threw it to the boy, telling him to wrap it around his shoulders. It worked and the boy was saved. Kole was honoured with an award for bravery.

18 year old Peter Hanne was at home late one night when there was a hurried knock on the door. A passerby told him that a truck was on the brink of falling into a river a few hundred yards from the house. Without waiting to put on his shoes, Peter shouted to his parents to call the cops and rushed to the scene. What he saw shocked him. The truck had gone over the side and was teetering on the edge, with the driver's cabin dangling on the side of the cliff. The driver was still in it. There loud creaking sound and the slight alternate swing of the cabin told him that there was no time to wait for the police to arrive. He quickly climbed down the side of the cliff, placing himself directly under the cabin. Using a wheel brace, he smashed the rear window and helped the injured driver to climb out. Even the police were in awe at Peter's act. In the police's own words, "We're always complaining about young people. Here is one young man who really laid his life on the line for another. He is a real hero!"

These stories are enough to tell us that our youngsters, despite all their peeves and harangue, have what it takes to take on responsibility when it is most called for.


Answer the following questions using complete sentences



From paragraph 1, when do teenagers show that they are capable of adult decisions ?



(a) From paragraph 2, how many graduates were on their way to the prom ?

(b) How were they dressed for the prom ?



(a) From paragraph 3, where was the victim at the Sacramento High School incident ?

(b) From paragraph 4, mention the two factors that saved the girl's life.



(a) From paragraph 8, what quality in Kole saved the life of the boy in the freezing waters ?

(b) From paragraph 9, why is Peter considered a hero ?



What is the common characteristic that stands out in all the stories of heroism mentioned ?

Characteristic : _______________

Reason : ______________



Based on the passage given, write a summary

* The circumstances that inspired heroic responses from the youngsters

* The good that their actions proved


Begin your summary as follows :

Teenagers may be boisterous, loud and seemingly selfish to others




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When they face a crisis.



(a) Twenty.

(b) The guys wore dapper three-piece suits whereas the girls wore lovely gowns.



(a) She was pinned under the tyre of her mother's car.


   (i) The boys didn't think it was impossible to lift a car.

   (ii) They worked instinctively, without thinking.



(a) Kole's curiosity at seeing a floating jacket made him stop. The quality that stands forth is his awareness of the potential of danger in an iced-over river.

(b) He evaluated the situation correctly and immediately acted, putting his own life in danger.



Characteristic : The characteristic that stands out is the instinctive response when others are facing danger.

Reason : In all the stories, the youngsters responded immediately without considering their own appearance and convenience. This is in direct contrast to the general feeling that youngsters are too preoccupied with their appearance and convenience.


Teenagers may be boisterous, loud and seemingly selfish to others. Yet, the stories go on to prove how false this negative presumption is. True heroism stands celebrated in the way the teenagers acted instinctively by taking the right course of action. All the victims in the mishaps were beyond helping themselves. Immediately sensing their helplessness the teenagers responded well with the kindness and courage that comes only with good upbringing and good education. The instinct to take responsible action proved that all these teenagers had the right humane values well ingrained in their hearts.


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Comprehension 1


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