In high school classrooms across America, girls, not boys, are setting the pace, a survey of the nation's young people says.

And while large numbers of American teenagers believe their opportunities are boundless in the 21st century, many are concerned about their safety at school right now.In a look at the attitudes and expectations of the millennial generation, young people who will spend most of their lives in the 21st century, the survey finds that many of today's students believe crime and violence are the greatest problems.

At the same time, Generation 2000 finds racial tensions and discrimination and poverty and unemployment to be of far lesser concern.

Nearly 71 percent of the respondents believe there will be many available opportunities after they graduate - 72 percent for whites and 63 percent for black teen-agers.

The survey, "The State of Our Nation's Youth," is an annual product of the Horatio Alger Association, which is dedicated to furthering the ideal that hard work and determination are the keys to American success stories.

By and large, it said, girls are outperforming boys in terms of academic success and expectations of entering such fields as medicine and law.

The researchers found that of the 18 percent of students most successful in their academic work, 63 percent were females and 37 percent were males.

"In general, females worked harder at their course work (averaging nearly 10 more hours of homework per week) and received better grades than males," the report accompanying the survey said.