Another month down, another 2,700 stories submitted to Best of SNO, and some really great content. While we’ve received tons of pieces related to our Assignment Desk topic — vaping — we’ve also seen students coming up with some really unique story angles to stories and taking advantage of our more advanced story page templates to help their content shine.

Remember, Best of SNO is highly competitive. So far this year, we’ve received 100 to 200 submissions per day and only about 10 percent are selected for publication. Therefore, that Best of SNO distinction is a true challenge and an honor to receive.

Here are some of the best from the last month or so, written and submitted by students just like yours:

The Vaping Experiment: Are We the Guinea Pigs? by Nina Lavezzo-Stecopoulos and Noah Bullwinkle, Iowa City High School

“Even with widespread grave concern about the dangers of e-cigarette use, the inescapability of addiction has kept students from trying to quit. ‘I could die,’ Gilbert said. ‘This could kill me out of nowhere, and that’s kind of scary. Even if I stopped for a couple days, I could still just like die, so it’s scary. I feel like I don’t have enough willpower to stop immediately.’”

Humanitarian pushes through traumatic past to help othersby Fernando Haro, El Camino College

“‘Watching children die is probably one of the worst things I’ve seen,’ Pensado said. ‘Moms would come up with their young daughters telling [us] to take them to the United States where they would have a better opportunity at life.’ But he couldn’t.”

Unsustainableby Annabel Hendrickson, Natalie Katz, and Marta Leira, Iowa City West High School 

“I think it’s really important not to rivet your attention on how bad things can be, but to instead focus on the opportunities created by the need to avoid those damages,” Throgmorton said. “If we face a climate crisis, we should respond as if it were a crisis.”

First Amendment Challenged at Cam Highby Marcella Barneclo, Adolfo Camarillo High School

“Supreme Court Case Tinker v. Des Moines in 1969, ruled that students have the freedom to wear politically affiliated attire with the exception of any material that incites fear or concern in staff or the student body and results in a disruption, making it impossible for learning to take place. The OUHSD district policy requests that all clothing with political affiliation should not be worn to school in prevention of any possible disturbances.”

The Parent Trapby Abby Pingpank, North Allegheny Senior High School

“School entails enough stress as it is, and the last thing students often want is to have their parents get too involved. For some students at NASH, though, that is not an option, as their parents are here daily to witness it all.”

Flipping the narrative, Band receives unexpected support at local competitionby Alishba Javaid, Coppell High School

“Surprised smiles and sparkling eyes of Coppell Band members could be seen as shouts of support from varsity football players from the stands pierced the air.”

Mill Valley’s LGBTQ population finds acceptance and faces new challengesby Ben Wieland, Tanner Smith, and Aiden Burke, Mill Valley High School

“‘Every time I walk into church, I feel like there is this huge target painted on my back. All it takes is one wrong word,’ Augustine said. ‘I don’t know what they could do to me. But it’s going to be bad.’”

JMac: Back to where it all startedby Hayden Davidson, Kirkwood High School

“For the past decade, people across the country, especially Kirkwood residents, have turned on the TV every Sunday in the fall to see the name “Maclin” on their screen. But before all the fame, Jeremy Maclin, 2006 KHS graduate, walked the same halls KHS students do today. Now, he is back as a football coach, serving the team that built the foundation of a nine-year-long NFL career.”

She Speaks for All of Usby Casey Murray, Lake Forest High School

“Greta speaks for all of us. Her every word and turn of phrase rings true in our hearts like a billion resounding bells…”

Final Countdown: Friday Nightby Meg Rees, North Allegheny Senior High School

“Each Friday night during the fall, thousands of spectators witness the Marching Band’s performance. Significantly fewer, however, see what the group does before and after the big night.”

Read more great stories like these on Best of SNO.