News & Politics

Secret Life of Teens: Kids Gone Wild

Kids From Nearly 50 High Schools Told Us What They Won’t Tell You.

Editor’s Note: To protect the kids’ confidentiality, pseudonyms and photographs of models have been used.

Stupid Teen Tricks

“One stupid thing kids were doing in the fall: A couple of them have SUVs or trucks, and they would find the biggest leaf piles and just slam the car into them. They made YouTube videos.”

—Jennifer, 18, Springbrook, Silver Spring

“My best friend used to be into racing. One time, on the highway, this guy wanted to race us. It was so crazy.

“We peaked at around 110 miles an hour. At 10 o’clock at night.”

—Andrew, 18, Wakefield, Arlington

“Freshmen stole scales from the lab so they could weigh their stash of weed—and admitted it to the teacher.”

—Melissa, 16, T.C. Williams, Alexandria

“The beer funnel is the craziest thing I’ve seen. This kid had an insane amount of beer. They kept pouring and pouring and pouring. He just kept going and going. I’m just waiting for this kid to die. People were cheering.”

—Ben, 17, Gonzaga, DC

Adam, 17, Springbrook, Silver Spring: “Stealing is a very popular pastime.”

Jennifer, 18, Springbrook: “It’s everyone—straight across the board from the rich kids to the poor kids.”

Adam: “They steal clothes. Or go to Safeway and steal food. You go to 7-Eleven and steal a pack of gum. One of our friends went to REI and stole rock-climbing shoes. I think she just gets a high from stealing. She loves it.”

Jennifer: “During prom, she’s in her prom dress, no purse. She walks out of Borders with a $15 book. She had a dress that was low-cut in the back, and she just stuck it down the back of her dress. That’s the point where it’s impressive.”

Adam: “If you’re wearing a skintight dress and you can still steal stuff? That’s actually pretty nice.”


“Saturday we had a birthday party for my friend. It was a DP in someone’s basement—a dance party. We abbreviate everything—have you not heard?”

—Maggie, 18, H-B Woodlawn, Arlington

“There was one theme party that was ‘CEOs and office hos.’ Girls basically don’t wear anything—maybe a tie.”

—Amy, 16, Madeira, McLean

“For a junior having a party, inviting ‘07’ is basically saying your party probably could—and probably will—get out of control. Seniors hear some juniors offering their house up? All of them will go.”

—Tara, 17, Sidwell Friends School, DC

“I went to a party where the beer-can tally for the night was 180. It ended up being like 50 kids. They broke a door frame.

“The parents were upstairs. They’re not the smartest people in the world: The next time I saw the mom, she said, ‘I think there was some drinking at the party.’ ”

—Keith, 18, Blair, Silver Spring

“I wake up and look around, and this kid’s hammered. He had his pants around his ankles, and he was peeing on his own couch pillows.”

—Name and school withheld

“If one of our friends passes out upstairs and they’ve thrown up, we’ll go up there every half hour or so just to check and make sure they’re not dead.

“There was some guy from our school who’d been talking to this girl from a private school. He went upstairs and was having sex with her. She had been drinking way too much.

“About ten people walked in on them—everyone knew this was going on. At some point, she threw up. He left her—just left her throwing up naked in the middle of the bed and went downstairs.”

—Name and school withheld

“Some of the smartest girls make fools of themselves at parties.”

—Samantha, 17, National Cathedral School, DC

“I told my mom there was coke at a party I was at. Her jaw dropped. She almost started crying.”

—Kate, 18, Churchill, Potomac

“Once last year, my mom went on a trip for two days, so my brother had a party even though she told us not to. The cops came. I was showing this boy my room when we heard a knock on the door and looked out the windows and saw police cars. We hid in the closet.

“Nothing happened. The cops just told everyone to clean it up.”

—Name and school withheld

“I have a friend whose mom lets her have parties in the basement. Her mom will be upstairs, and you have to come to her to get your keys, to make sure you’re sober. Also, she knows not to open the door if the cops knock.”

—Brooke, 18, Churchill, Potomac

“There is such a thing as being partied out—and a lot of us are.”

—Cara, 18, Wootton, Rockville

“We have an eight-hour postprom party at the school, and the school spends a ridiculous amount of money to take us to, like, ride on a moonbounce. If you go to prom, you have to go. We come to Visitation at 4 in the afternoon, and we get on charter buses to a hotel for a mandatory dinner. It’s not even like we can take limos, because people will drink in the limos.

“If you look at our school, there’s only one entrance and a big gate in the front. It’s easier for a convict to escape than it was for us to get out. I’m shocked that people were not scaling the walls.”

—Natalie, 17, Georgetown Visitation, DC

New Tobacco Buzz

“It’s looked down upon to smoke cigarettes—‘You’re disgusting. You’re ruining your life.’ ”

—Jennifer, 18, Springbrook, Silver Spring

“What’s getting popular is hookah [water pipe] smoking because it’s not a drug but kinda gives the same buzz.”

—Meg, 16, Flint Hill, Oakton

“I thought it was flavored steam. Shows how naive I am.”

—Amy, 16, Madeira, McLean

“I can blow rings and do tricks. I apparently have good lung capacity because I can suck on it for 45 seconds and blow out this immense amount of smoke, which is probably not the best thing for me.”

—Keith, 18, Blair, Silver Spring

“One thing you can do when smoking hookah is called ‘elevator.’ You put your hands on your knees and bend over and breathe really hard for a minute and take a really long drag. It gives you a high because you’re not getting enough oxygen. It’s almost like you’re passing out.”

—Jason, 17, Paul VI, Fairfax

“Crunk,” or Crazy Drunk

“One time I got sick, we were taking double shots of Bacardi. I blacked out. Next morning, I woke up in barf.”

—Name and school withheld

“Sometimes I just want to get drunk because I’m really stressed out. I don’t drink excessively. I’m careful about what I do. But now that my brother is in college, he drinks just about every night. I guess it will be different for me, too, when I go to college.”

—Name and school withheld

“There are people who act sober after 14 beers.”

—Cara, 18, Wootton, Rockville

“I think binge drinking is defined as anything more than five drinks in a night. That’s every time there’s a party.”

—Jennifer, 18, Springbrook, Silver Spring

“Three or four beers wouldn’t really affect me that much because I’m like 160 pounds—it’s like water. That wouldn’t worry me that much, especially if I’m driving a short distance.”

—Mark, 18, Churchill, Potomac

“My homecoming date had a water bottle filled with apple-flavored vodka taped to his leg. The lengths we’ll go to . . . .”

—Julia, 17, Wootton, Rockville

“I steal from my parents. It’s easy. The liquor cabinet is right there—you fill up a water bottle and you’re ready to go. It was more of an issue with my big brother. He would take whole bottles. I’m like, ‘No, you don’t do that—you pour.’ ”

—18-year-old from Sidwell Friends, DC

“Lots of our friends have fake IDs and know where to go where they’re not going to get carded. People also have college friends, older siblings—‘contacts.’ ”

—Rachel, 18, Bethesda–Chevy Chase

Just Say No?

“I probably drink less than once a month. I’m not throwing back shots. I’m so busy that to lose a night of sleep and part of the next day—it’s not really an option. ”

—John, 18, Richard Montgomery High, Rockville

“My parents let me drink. We have a deal that I’ll drink at home if I don’t drink out. I drink wine, or if we’re having people over, they’ll pour me a glass of wine or a martini.

“Even though I do drink out, I don’t get drunk. I’m scared to lose control. I don’t see the point of getting really drunk and not remembering what you did last night.”

—Name and school withheld

“I’m not a drinker. I’ve tried it. It wasn’t that special. It burns. It’s more fun to see what everyone’s doing when they’re drunk because they never remember it.”

—Ben, 17, Gonzaga, DC

“The problem with staying sober is you’re responsible for cleaning up and looking out for people. People don’t want to babysit for ten passed-out people. If you’re drinking, then you give up your responsibility and you’re allowed to do whatever you want.”

—Jason, 17, Paul VI, Fairfax

“My mom’s an alcoholic. When she gets out of treatment, I’m not going to party anymore because it’s not going to help her. Take drinking out of the picture, and my mom is the best mom.

“It makes me think I can’t drink to be happy and I can’t drink to be upset. I drink to have fun with my friends. I know my limit.”

—Lisa, Prince George’s County 16-year-old

High Life

“Weed is everywhere. I mean, obviously.”

—Hilary, 18, Loudoun County High, Leesburg

“It’s way easier to find weed than it is to get alcohol. Alcohol is a controlled substance.”

—Josh, 17, Bethesda–Chevy Chase

“In the senior center, people just grab bags of pot out of their purses. Kids carry it around with them.”

—18-year-old from Sidwell Friends, DC

“There are shoes that have little pockets—you can fit a little bit in there. People hide it in sports equipment, sports bags, lockers.

“I know three or four dealers. You wouldn’t think them to be dealers. They go to the same classes, they get the same grades, they drive and don’t get tickets.

“Today I saw some kid buying weed off another kid in front of a locker. It was a lot—like a quarter [ounce]. There are teachers around, so this kid gives this other kid the money and says, ‘Here’s your lunch money.’ And the other kid goes, ‘Oh, man, I am so hungry.’ ”

—Name and school withheld

“The reason people do drugs is they like the way it makes them feel, not because someone told them to.”

—Mark, 18, Churchill, Potomac

“When you’re high, everything is okay. I don’t have to worry about school. I don’t have to worry about ‘I gotta do this or else I’m gonna fail and not get into college and be screwed forever.’ ”

—Keith, 18, Blair, Silver Spring

“International Baccalaureate kids only do drugs on the weekends because they don’t have time during the week.”

—Cathy, 17, Annapolis High

“I have two good guy friends who are really big stoners. Potheads. They’ve smoked so much, and you can tell their personalities changed.

“That really hits you—it’s not just your parents saying, ‘Don’t smoke.’ Your life gets changed.”

—Rebecca, 16, Madison, Vienna

“I’ve tried smoking. It’s hard not to get caught because all your clothes smell like weed for days. I don’t really wanna go through washing my clothes every time I smoke. It’s just like, why?”

—Andrew, 18, Wakefield, Arlington

“Every time I go out, I’ll bring deodorant and eyedrops with me, so I’ll come home and just look like I’ve been playing video games.

“I can have a perfectly normal conversation with my parents and then just go up to my room.”

—Scott, 15, Whitman High, Bethesda

“My parents are super-conscious and get really worried whenever I’ve shown signs of smoking. They’ll threaten to test me. So I say, ‘No, thanks,’ most of the time.

“Maybe I’m wrong, but I get straight A’s and have friends. My parents should lighten up a little. I think about it, and I get pissed off because they won.”

—Lucy, 16, Maret, DC

“It bothers me that parents who read about this will be like, ‘There’s no way my kid is doing this.’ Yes—there is.”

—Emily, 19, Churchill, Potomac

‘I’m Fine to Drive’

“Guys, if they’re driving, they don’t drink. They’re really good about that. Even if the guys are like, ‘I’ve only had half a beer, I’ll drive you home,’ the girls are usually like, ‘Hell, no.’

—Tara, 17, Sidwell Friends, DC

“A member of my class died last year. She was driving, and she had been drinking. She wasn’t like really drunk—there were other factors—but that really hit home. Everybody now has a designated driver and makes sure they know who’s driving or who’s sleeping over.”

—Katie, 18, Potomac School, McLean

“A guy who was really well liked and well rounded got drunk, got in a car accident, and almost died. Now he’s back in school. That changed things for about two months, and then everything went back into full swing, as if it had never happened. People were still driving drunk and high.”

—Kate, 18, Churchill, Potomac

“When I drive, I make sure I’m sober, because if something happens to my car, that’s it—I don’t have a car anymore.”

—Rachel, 18, Bethesda–Chevy Chase

“You just don’t really hear much about smoking pot and driving. It hasn’t had a huge campaign like drunk driving. Smoking is taken a lot lighter by teenagers.”

—Danny, 17, Wilson High, DC

“I drive, so I never really drink. I always end up smoking.”

—Patrick, 16, Whitman, Bethesda

“Sometimes it seems like losing your license is a lot worse than dying.”

—Jason, 17, Paul VI, Fairfax

The Hard Stuff

“It’s not just drinking anymore—now it’s like hard-core drugs. There’s a lot more out there, and it’s more dangerous. There have been a bunch of people who are going to rehab, getting in car accidents.”

—Emily, 19, Churchill, Potomac

“Private schools have more drugs. They have so much money, and they’re like, ‘Yay, coke!’ ”

—Liz, 17, Bethesda–Chevy Chase

“There are more drugs in public schools than in private schools.”

—Leslie, 17, Stone Ridge, Bethesda

“I’m always the uptight girl. My friends did shrooms last summer. I don’t understand. I’m looking at them getting totally out of control, like a bad movie.”

—Name and school withheld

“I’ve never been around harder drugs, but I know people who do them. One of them just got into UVa, so she couldn’t be too bad. She does a lot of ‘E,’ weed, and Adderall.

“It was pretty sad. She’s still a really good student, but you can just see someone fade from being sharp to being like, ‘Wait—what?’ ”

—Name and school withheld