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Published Sep. 16, 2005

How should you spend your money? What's a deal, and what's a dud? What's cool, and what's just a big fat waste of your time? Answering those questions is the mission of the new 1996-97 X-Team. Over the next year, the X-Team will be looking out for kid consumers everywhere.

Picking the new X-Team was a tough task _ nearly 100 kids applied! Originally, we planned to pick only five new members. But competition was so tough, we decided to expand our team to 10 members representing as many cities as possible. The first X-Team meeting was held this month at the Times building in St. Petersburg. We took pictures, toured the exciting Times complex, talked about X-Press and ate a ton of pizza! We here at X-Press look forward to lots of great stuff from this energetic, exciting group of kids.

And now, without further delay, we proudly present the New X-Team!

_ Helen A.S. Popkin

Louis "David" Brown

Age: 12 (will be 13 Aug. 17).

City: St. Petersburg

Grade: 8th-grader at Bay Point Middle School

Siblings: Sister, Lauren, 10

Favorite color: Blue

Hobbies: Sports

Favorite food: Pizza

Favorite music: Rap, R&B

Favorite class: Computers

Most hated class: Spanish

Ambition: To become a lawyer

About David: In his application, complete with a very official resume, David told us, "I can think of 20 or more good ways to spend money and all of them even interest my parents." We especially loved the little "idea" light bulbs that decorated the bottom of his letter!

Chon Nguyen

Age: 13

City: New Port Richey

Grade: 8th-grader at Seven Springs Middle School

Siblings: Tara, 5; Josh, 15; and Tim, 18

Favorite color: Red

Hobbies: Computers and the internet

Favorite food: Pizza

Favorite music: "Quad City D.J.s"

Favorite class: Typing/computers

Most hated class: Computers

Ambition: To build computers.

About Chon: We think of Chon as the Jeff Goldblum character in Independence Day. He has tons of experience with computers but he's also a concerned citizen, helping out with the little kids at his local YMCA.

Brian Orloff

Age: 11{

City: Clearwater

School: 7th-grader at Pinellas County Jewish Day School

Siblings: Max, 7

Favorite color: Blue

Hobbies: reading, computers

Favorite food: Chinese

Favorite music: Cranberries

Favorite class: Social studies

Most hated class: Science

Ambition: To be famous

About Brian: Brian was away at camp when we announced the winners, so he missed the first meeting and assignment. We look forward to lots of good stuff from him. "I don't part with my money unless it's a good deal," he told us in his application. He also has the X-Press Hotline number memorized!

Kristina Ortega

Age: 10

City: Clearwater

School: 5th-grader at Eisenhower Elementary

Siblings: Michael, 9; Samantha, 7; and Andre, 4

Pets: A cat, Roosevelt; two dogs, Maks and Montey; and some fish with no names

Favorite color: Yellow

Hobbies: Sketching

Favorite food: Beignets _ fried dough with powdered sugar

Favorite class: Science

Most hated class: Math

Ambition in life: To travel

About Kristina: She really impressed us with her hand-decorated application, in which she reproduced the X-Press X-Guy body in a multicolored magic marker medium, using a photo of her face for the head!

Curtis "C.J." Perry Jr.

Age: 13

City: Oldsmar

Grade: 9th-grader at East Lake High School

Siblings: Chloe, 22; Cedric, 26; Gerard, 19

Pets: Tex the turtle

Favorite color: Blue

Hobbies: Sports, video games, TV, sports cards and comics

Favorite food: Shrimp

Favorite music: Rap

Favorite class: P.E.

Most hated class: Math

Ambition: To be an electrical engineer

About C.J.: "I am going to tell you the truth," C.J. confessed on his application. "I am not quiet when I am having fun or even when I am thinking!" Boy howdy! He wasn't lying! With more bounce than a super deluxe superball, C.J. let us know he was there every second of the first X-Team meeting. We look forward to hearing his opinion, loud and often!

Alexa Roberts

Age: 9

City: St. Petersburg

Grade: Fourth grader at Northside Christian

Siblings: Brothers Brian, 21, and Jim, 24; a sister, Brooke, 1; and a baby sibling on the way!

Pets: A kitty, Jaguar

Favorite color: Orange

Hobbies: Swimming and soccer

Favorite food: Pizza

Favorite music: Contemporary

Favorite class: P.E.

Most hated class: Computer

Ambition: To be an actor

About Alexa: "I'm so hip I'm thigh," Alexa told us in her application. "Am I being cocky? YES. . .YES I am." How could we deny such honesty?

Wilson Sommer

Age: 14

City: Brooksville

School: 9th-grader at Hernando High School

Pets: Two dogs, Happy and Fudge

Favorite color: Red

Hobbies: Martial arts, video games

Favorite food: Pizza

Favorite music: All kinds

Favorite class: Reading/language arts

Most hated class: Algebra I

Ambition: To be a lawyer or martial arts actor

About Wilson: Not only was Wilson the first to apply (we received his letter within 24 hours of the first announcement), he (and his parents) get a big gold star for driving 2{ hours all the way from Brooksville to downtown St. Petersburg for the first X-Team meeting. Not only does Wilson have lots of great ideas, he also told us, "We're aren't going anywhere this summer and (my parents) say I need something to do." If you've ever been a kid in Brooksville, you know this is a serious request.

Sarah Spitale

Age: 10

City: Tampa

Grade: 5th-grader at Lowry Elementary

Siblings: Thomas, 3

Pets: A 16-pound kitty named Minnesota Fats!

Favorite color(s): Black and white

Hobbies: Sports

Favorite food: Chinese

Favorite music: Everything!

Favorite classes: Math and social studies

Most hated class: Spelling

Ambition: To play professional baseball or go into advertising

About Sarah: "I'm a 10-year-old kid with a nose for news!" Sarah the spitfire told us in her letter. With a mouth to match C.J.'s, Sarah has a lot of high-energy potential.

Veronica Taylor

Age: 11

City: Dunedin

School: 6th-grader at Kennedy Middle School

Siblings, Thomas, 13

Pets: Two cats, Sheba and Nibbles

Favorite color: Purple

Hobbies: Cheerleading, gymnastics, writing

Favorite food: Chicken

Favorite class: Math

About Veronica: We think of Veronica as the Anti-C.J. The most composed X-Team member, Vernoica is a queen of organization. She sent us an official cover-letter and resume full of great ideas. She even has a pen pal in Kenya!

Lowrie Ward

Age: 12

City: Clearwater

School: 7th-grader at St. Paul's

Siblings: Thomas, 11

Pets: Frisby, a cat and Myrtle, a dog

Favorite color: Light purple

Favorite food: Pierogi _ pasta stuffed with mashed potato

Favorite music: Alanis Morissette

Favorite class: Language arts

Most hated class: Social Studies

Ambition: To work with computers and to be a writer

About Lowrie: Not only does she have the coolest name, she's also from England! X-Press wrote about Lowrie in 1994 when she won third place for a national contest sponsored by National Public Radio. Her dad made her apply and we're so glad!