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The Miami Youth Academy houses up to 28 boys from 14 to 18 years old, who are sent there by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. The students publish stories and poems for their student newspaper Titan Tribune, which they produce in a journalism class run by Exchange for Change, a local nonprofit group that teaches writing classes in youth commitment and adult correctional facilities. In this feature, students wrote in answer to the prompt — if you had the chance to take out one person — living or dead — who would it be and why?

My Therapist

By C. C.

I would take out Ms. Yahosca Hurtado, my therapist, to the most expensive restaurant in the world, because she is wonderful, funny and intelligent.

When I am down, I can always count on her to cheer me up. I would go all-out to show her that I really appreciate her and everything she has done for me.

Sometimes, when I was not doing schoolwork, she would encourage me by telling me to stay focused and think about the future.  She often has gotten me back on track.

Oprah Winfrey

By S.H.

I would choose Oprah Winfrey to go out to dinner with. She inspires me and helps out people in need.

I would ask her lots of questions, like who inspired her and what motivated her to do what she does.

Oprah donates millions of dollars to charity and I donate some money to people in need when I have it.

Like Oprah, I try to put myself in other people’s shoes. That is called empathy. I’m a caring person.

I want to share my story with Oprah and get help from her to manage my depression. I want to find out how to beat it and let my happiness take over.

Philanthropist and talk-show host
Caring, helpful, sympathetic, kind
Loves helping people, giving advice to kids
Believes in god, love and herself
Wanted to be successful, joyful and a person to talk to
Famous for her talk show and giving to charities
Gave advice and money

Kevin Hart

By A.S.

I would invite Kevin Hart. He is my favorite comedian.

Another reason is that he is very short, which motivates me because I am also short. Many people have told me that I can’t do a lot of things because of my height. But Mr. Hart has shown me that I can make it somewhere in life.

I also chose him because he is not selfish. He cares about other people.

I look up to him. He is one of the actors I have been dreaming of meeting my whole life. It would be an honor to spend a day with him and eat dinner.

While eating, I think he would be very funny and that would really make me enjoy my food.

Funny, respectful, caring, leader
Loves basketball, fitness and family
Believes in himself, others and being a positive role model
Wanted success, to make people laugh and to be taller
Known for his stand-up shows and movies
Gave smiles and positive examples

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

By C. B.

I would like to go to dinner with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. because at this time we are going through a pandemic, police brutality, people going against each other and citizens destroying property.

It’s bad right now, Dr. King, and I know this is not your dream. It’s not what you peacefully marched for and what you fought for with words, not violence.

I know you sometimes wanted to give up, but you never did. You wanted to make peace for our nation.

At dinner, we would order a lobster and it would be the juiciest one I ever tasted.

After dinner, with Dr. King sipping on whiskey with lemon, we would discuss all the things he went through and how some of what is going on now is similar. He would give me some good advice about how we can try to get more people to come together, which he did during his entire life.

Captain, leader, peaceful, caring
Loved people, his children and family
Believed everyone should be free, equal rights and unity
Wanted an end to segregation, freedom and equality for all
Known for having a dream and marching peacefully in protest
Gave his life and his love

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

The students at the Miami Youth Academy wrote these stories for their newspaper Titan Tribune, a collaborative effort by the facility, Miami-Dade County Public Schools and Exchange for Change, a Miami-based non-profit group that supports writing programs in youth commitment and adult correctional facilities. The students work on the paper in a journalism class taught by retired journalism teacher Henry Unger. The writers are identified by their initials to protect their identities.