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I researched some stocks and bonds first and decided to invest in copper, since it had become one of today's hottest commodities. That took care of $300. I donated another $100 to the Invisible Children movement. After making my donation, I filled my parents in on my find. Then I gave $200 to my mom for the down payment on my braces.

They suggested that I keep the rest of the money in my savings account for future emergency expenditures, and I heeded their advice. I was not the most interesting spender, but after being used to biweekly paychecks and spending those on shopping, this $1000 was an investment in my future. -- Amy Culley, Our Lady of Peace H.S. graduate

I always want to do the right thing -- karma is swift, you know -- but I need a vacation. One thousand dollars couldn't cover a car or my future college tuition, but I could spend it in an instant on a plane ticket. London, New York, Greenland -- it wouldn't matter. The only rule would be that I'd go by myself...not because I want to escape my family or desert my friends, but because there's more freedom in traveling alone. I would pick where to eat, what attractions to visit, and my own wake-up calls (an important requirement for this sleep-deprived student).

Three years ago, I signed up for a Girl Scout camp in Orange County. I didn't have any friends there, and I hadn't spoken to a soul attending until I got onto the camp bus; I wanted to live without the safety net of family and friends. I enjoyed nine days of archery, canoeing, and anonymity. I've written my name on a thousand school papers, filled in hundreds of standardized testing bubbles, and raised my hand for dozens of roll calls. I'd like to be in a place where no one demands my name.

The settlers at Jamestown wanted new lives in the new world, and the pioneers who crossed our country were seeking new beginnings. In modern life, that indepen-dent feeling hits me when I break my routine and take the risk of being anonymous. For $1000, I could chomp on some airline peanuts, stare at the clouds, and be more than an I.D. number. -- Madeline McCurry-Schmidt, Valhalla H.S.

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