A sports legend becomes a murder suspect. A leading man checks into the Betty Ford Center for Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation. And even the President is accused of sexual harassment charges. Is it difficult these days for young people to find a role model? Or are there people worthy of high regard and respect ?
Junior, 17, Mater Dei High School, Santa Ana
My hero is Cesar Gaviria, the past president of Colombia. He's done many good things for his people. I look up to him because I think he's a good example for all people my age. I especially admire him because of his stance against drugs. He shows us not to give up, because his country has really been hit hard by narcotics and drug dealers. He never gave up, never stopped fighting. That's his message.
Freshman, 18, UC San Diego, Fountain Valley
My hero is Rush Limbaugh. I like his morals. He stands for honest work. He was down-in-the-dumps in the 1980s and couldn't even afford to pay cash for groceries. He has shown that people can work their way out of poverty.
I admire his persistence. He has taken a lot of fire from everyone in the press and from the Democrats. He may not be the best-looking or the smoothest guy around, but he sticks to his beliefs and comes out swinging every day. He represents what people should strive for.
Even though Rush is older, I can relate to him. Who does my generation have to look up to--Beavis and Butthead? Bart Simpson? They don't stand for anything that anyone in his right mind would want to emulate.
Sophomore, 15, Rubidoux High School, Riverside
I look up to Patra, the reggae dancer. She's just the neatest person in the world because she stands against prejudice. I like the way she acts, the way she portrays herself. She's provocative but not too provocative. She watches how she dances. She watches what she does because she knows young people look up to her. She's not prejudiced against anything, against any other kind of music. She says it doesn't matter what color you are, what you dance to, whatever. It's OK with her.
1994 graduate, 18, Irvine High School
If there's anyone I look up to, it would have to be Edith Wharton because she was really the first great American female writer. I'd like to be a surgeon. And there aren't a lot of female surgeons so I'll have to be somewhat of a pioneer in my field as she was in her's. She wasn't afraid of what people thought of her. She just went out and did what she needed to do. Not to mention that her writing is amazing. She has a special insight that you can look at and say, "This is true." The sign of a really good writer is the ability to take truth about life and put it accurately on paper. And she did that.
Sophomore, 15, Notre Dame High School, Riverside
My hero is Mike Vitar, an actor in "The Sandlot" and "The Mighty Ducks." He's a good actor, one of the few Latinos in movies right now. He's in good movies, like Disney movies, not ones with a lot of violence. It's important because we don't have a role model if there are no Latinos out there. I mean, it's like you don't count. The bad parts are shown, like gangs and all that other stuff, but there aren't enough positive images for Latinos.
GRACE S. CHIU
1994 graduate, 17, Edison High School, Huntington Beach
My parents are my heroes because I admire their work ethic. They're always saving and preparing for our futures. It's pushed me to work harder, to set goals for myself because they have worked so hard to get us where we are. If you have heroes just because of one trait they have, you really don't know their entire character. That's why my parents are my role models, because I know them so well.