By Ella Bilu
Tuscaloosa, AL--Adults and children alike can be seen crying outside of the Johnson family home after reports are coming from the scene that the Johnson’s eldest child, Helga, a high school junior, has been seen smiling. Helga makes history as she is the first high schooler in seven years to smile while being enrolled in multiple Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Over the past decade, an epidemic has developed that leaves high schoolers looking sad and depressed. That is of course until they step into their first college frat party and learn that they no longer have to take APs.
Scientists have long been studying this epidemic, but still have not stumbled across a cause. Dr. Keisha Urbana, a professor at the Arkansas Institute of Technology, has dedicated her life to researching the illness. She said, “I cannot understand what has possessed these high schoolers. It’s not like there is anything in their lives causing them significant stress. Back in my day, when all you needed to do to get into Stanford was be the president of the math club, everyone was happy. I can’t imagine it would be much different now.”
Urbana continued to say despite having no leads on the cause of the disease, she will not stop fighting for the kids. “I will not stop researching this epidemic until the day Grey’s Anatomy comes off air, after all, that’s where I learned everything about medicine.”
Since the reports from Tuscaloosa, cities across the nation have lit up with joy, excluding the high schoolers though. Tuscaloosa city mayor James Jameson has declared December 23 a city-wide holiday to celebrate Helga’s smile. Jameson said, “This epidemic is a true mystery and has devastated our town. Today, we celebrate the progress made to having happy teenagers again.”
Tuscaloosa High School principal, Mr. Brownie, also spoke out. “This is thrilling news. Every day when I go to work and see the somber children, I feel like I’ve put them in a jail cell. Every night, I wonder what I can do to help them. I am proud to know Helga and to be a part of the change. Now that we have made this progress, we have decided to amp up our curriculum by adding several other Honors courses in an attempt to make other students happier as well.”
While Helga Johnson certainly appreciates the overwhelming support coming from around the nation, she was quick to call out several adults who she pins at fault for her and others’ mental health. She said, “I want to say a big [REDACTED] you to the mayor, my principal, that one doctor from a state no one has heard of, and every single one of my teachers who assigned two hours of homework each night. What the [REDACTED]? You act like it’s a mystery why no one around here smiles anymore. Well, if you were to just listen to our concerns and calls for change, maybe we would be happy!”
Other students echoed Helga’s thoughts. Marty Martini, an Italian exchange student said, “In my home country of Italia, all of the high schoolers are happy. In our schools, we learn how to make perfect pizza dough and play soccer. In America, all we do is learn about chemistry and do math without any numbers. No wonder everyone is sad here, it sucks!”
Marsha Lichtenstein, a high school senior, said, “The last time I was truly happy was when Disney Channel still had good shows. This high school and its classes have ruined me. All I want is for the administration to listen to us and work towards change.”
Helga Johnson hopes her story will be a wake-up call for adults in power, but is not optimistic. “These people in charge are idiots. My sister who can’t spell dog could do a better job. We need changes in our schools now.”
Tuscaloosa High School principal, Mr. Brownie, declined to comment on Helga’s words.