Are the School's Lunch Policies Effective?
by:Jenny An

Leaving the building is getting harder and harder each year due to the new lunch policies that are being implemented. The first lunch policy put in place was during 2017, restricting all freshmen from leaving the building for lunch. In 2018, the policy additionally included the requirements of a 2.8 GPA, no out of school suspensions, and no F's. Eighteen months ago, it was announced that the lunch policies would additionally restrict all sophomores in District 214 from leaving the building for lunch until second semester. 

“It [lunch regulations] was created by the school board and the superintendent as a motivation for students to achieve higher academic behavioral success,” Dean Matt Norris said.   

Judging by the lunch policy requirements and the said mindset behind creating them, it is clearly shown that the district is trying to push students to do their best academically. But does Hersey actually know if these regulations are improving students’ “academic behavioral success?” 

The goal of the administrators is to make sure students are performing at their best, so it is to be expected that the school board would be keeping track of academic behavior this semester to see the impact the policies have. There should be data observing the rises and/or drops in GPAs, the number of students who are going to be able to leave for lunch this semester compared to last semester, or, at the least, the comparison of the total number of students who will have access to leave for lunch.

When a number of administrators were asked for these statistics, they did not have the specific numbers and would divert the questions to another administrator.The administrators were not able to answer any of the questions that involved proof of the lunch policies having benefits. 

If the policies were to improve the academic success of students, then there should be evidence showing that the policies are doing just that to back it up, yet there is no evidence whatsoever. It cannot be said whether the policies are benefiting or harming students’ education. It also cannot be said that the policies are actively influencing students’ decisions for leaving campus. The administration is not tracking the effects of the policies, making the actual reasoning behind the policy unclear. 

Paper Straws Stir Up a Debate
by:Jenny An

For the first time since its opening, the school’s coffee stand, Brewed Awakening, has taken steps towards decreasing global warming as of November by replacing plastic straws with paper alternatives. The intention behind replacing these straws is obviously well-meant, but there may be a better solution. 

Although the paper straws Brewed Awakening uses are indeed better for the environment, they often become more cumbersome and a burden when being used. The straws, since used for coffee, become soggy and tear, making it difficult to actually drink the coffee. Along with inconvenience for the drinkers, the paper straws are also more expensive compared to the plastic straws. 

Additionally, single-use straws as a whole are causing environmental detriments. Sustainability Victoria, an environmentalist group, has found that due to the size of straws, it is difficult for the straws to be recycled because they often fall out of cracks in machinery, resulting in them being found in landfills and bodies of water. 

An alternative to straws would be lids. Starbucks has been a prime example of making the change from plastic straws to nitro lids. The nitro lids are used for the cold brew drinks and use nine percent less plastic than the previously given lid and straw according to Starbucks News. 

Brewed Awakening already has cups with lids that are used primarily for hot drinks, but if all drinks were served in these cups, it would have a greater impact on helping reduce global warming. 

Although some lids do use more plastic, they are more easily recyclable because of the larger size, since there are fewer situations where it falls out of the machine as straws do. But whether Brewed Awakening continues to use single-use straws or begins to use another alternative, it is very exciting to see its seeking of more environmentally-friendly materials.

It's a Privilege to Pee
by:Amelia Zollner

A few years ago, in partnership with the School Superintendents Association, District 214 began using the new motto “College ready, career ready, life ready.” Those words can be found on posters hung around the school, assuring that students know that the school aims to prepare them for the rest of their lives. 

For the most part, this motto definitely applies to the school; as students progress through high school, they earn more independence through things like leaving for lunch, learning new skills through blended classes, and taking on various leadership roles in clubs. But one aspect of the school is doing the exact opposite of preparing students for college, careers, and life: teachers’ absurdly strict restrictions on using the bathroom during class.  

On the first day of school this year, as my teachers reviewed their syllabuses, I was greeted by a barrage of strange restrictions on using the bathroom in class. I’ve heard them all: a class where students could only leave to use the bathroom during the first five minutes of class, one rule where students have one bathroom pass per semester and receive extra credit if they don’t use it, and even some classes where students aren’t allowed to use it at all. 

To me, it seems that many of these teachers believe that students who use the bathroom in class are delinquent for having basic bodily functions. I’ve been told that many of these restrictions are in place to keep students on task during class; however, to be honest, being stuck in class while desperately needing to use the bathroom is a lot more distracting than leaving for two minutes to do so and coming back quietly. 

Teachers often resort to blaming students for not using the bathroom during passing periods or lunch hours. However, some students don’t have lunch hours, and the school’s four-minute passing periods barely provide enough time to get to certain classes, let alone use the bathroom. 

Sure, in elementary schools, it’s reasonable to have restrictions like these to prevent younger kids from aimlessly wandering around the halls and wasting class time. But we’re in high school. We’re old enough to understand that missing too much class time can be detrimental to our education. 

In most colleges, there are no rigid consequences for missing class. It’s up to students to show up to class every day, and if they don’t, the only consequences they receive are natural: they miss everything covered in that class period and have to make it up. Similarly, in the majority of college classes, students don’t ask to go to the bathroom, they just walk out of the class when they need to.

If the school wants to prepare us for college, careers, and life, teachers shouldn’t be preventing students from using the bathroom, instead, they should be letting us face the natural consequences of leaving class. 

Columbus Day Should Not be Forgotten
by:Joey Ivanov

In 1492 when Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue, he did the unthinkable. Columbus was a brave man who risked everything with the intent to bring new riches and a new understanding of the world to western Europe. Columbus Day is a day where Americans can reflect on the discovery of our continent. If not for Columbus who knows when the Americas would’ve been discovered and if life as we know it would be the same. In recent years the perspective changed, people started calling Columbus a villain for the inhumane actions used against the native populations. Yes, some of his actions were poor, but who has not made poor decisions. At the time, his misdemeanors were the norm and what sense does it make to judge someone entirely on their wrongs. While Columbus did take poor actions against the natives, his willpower to travel across unknown waters and desire to discover more beyond the common man’s reach are why this man had a holiday named after him in 1937. Columbus Day should be a day off of school so students can reflect upon an important historical event.

Sleep Helps Memory
by: Trey Schmidt

Sleeping is a huge factor in performing well in activities during school and in academics. Getting the right amount of sleep means going to bed early. No watching late night shows on Netflix or studying late. These late night activities keep your brain active and running late but really you need to put away the activities and go to sleep. This is the best plan to get healthy rest and to prepare for the next day. Ideally, the goal for hours of sleep per night is 8-9 hours of sleep. That means going to bed early and getting those 8 hours of rest for your body to recover from the day,  it makes day to day activities will be smoother. Waking up in the morning the body is recharged and ready to start another day either starting off going to school or practice. This helps improve your lifestyle and every day activities. Sleeping also feels good. Waking up fully recharged or somewhat refreshed makes a day go smoothly. Another reason why sleeping those 8 hours is because it improves memory. Studying those notecards for a test that’s coming up is better to get rest because you are more likely to remember the written things on the note cards than staying up late to try and study more. If studying all night happens and you go to bed at 3 in the morning the things you studied that night won’t come back to you during the test the next day. The odds that the test goes well will be really high and won’t be a high test score. That is why getting that sleep is very important because your brain gets to rest and recover from the day. It gets to process all the information learned and makes it easier for you to remember the information.

Traffic Jam
by: Joey Ivanov

At eight in the morning the last thing I want to do is push my way through the hordes of freshman that reside in the main hallway. They leave a single body walkway between their pile-ups which is brutal to walk through because someone will always be coming from the other side. I don’t understand why students feel the need to stand in the main hall when the cafeteria is never full, they could easily just sit in the room designed for exactly that. Every student knows the intersections leading into the math and science wing are the most cluttered areas in the school. Bodies on top of bodies pushing into each other, tiny freshman trying to sneak their way through while other, non-observant, carefree school goers act like they lost their way and are just following everyone else. After four years of dealing with the hallways here and last years loss of a minute during passing periods, I’ve learned that the only way to even attempt to get to class on time is by pushing through the packed intersections and walking with a purpose. Four minutes to walk from class to class is barely enough time for students to get to class and many students wish to fill up their water bottle, use the restroom, or talk to some friends during these periods. Yes, majority of students can survive the eight hour school day but there are still some changes that could be made to help make high school the memorable place it’s supposed to be, and it all starts with the simple things.

John Hersey High School

1900 East Thomas Street

Arlington Heights, IL 60004


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