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wingspan • june 4, 2010

• Staff Editorial

Teenage obesity a problem that must be addressed


quarter of the nation’s students. Physical activity obviously helps prevent weight gain, and providing that opportunity for students in schools is important. Schools cannot continue to ignore the problem of obesity. They are expected to improve students and create healthy, productive members of society, a duty that they are failing. A simple tactic that schools could attempt is ed-

“It’s definitely a problem when people start ignoring their health. Schools should make healthier cafeteria food and require P.E. for more than one semester to help fight obesity.”

Do you think that obesity is a serious problem among students?

“It’s not really a problem, at least not at this school. The cafeteria food has cut down on the problem. P.E. helps get students involved in exercise without having to play sports.” Lee Reesor sophomore

Sammie Onken freshman

ucating children about the benefits of healthy living. They must be taught at a young age to enjoy eating fruits and vegetables instead of sugar-filled snacks. The importance of regular exercise, and possible ways to go about getting that needed physical activity, should be ingrained in children. Instead of ignoring the issue, educators must rise to the challenge, or American children will suffer in the long run.

“It’s not necessarily a problem, but it does need to be taken into consideration. Obese students get picked on, so schools should try to help, but we should stop bothering them about their weight.”

Shaundi Sides junior

“I think P.E. needs to be more structured instead of telling students to just grab a basketball and play. Students need to interact with each other and get the full benefits of exercise.” Josh Littauer senior

• Viewpoint

Are colleges too expensive for students to afford?



ollege has always been expensive. There is no uition $26,273, books $1,100, a good education denying it. Even in 1636 when Harvard College ­— priceless. There are many factors students look was founded, only the elite and fiscally blessed for when choosing a college because they want a were able to attend. school that benefits their education and offers them a Since then, colleges have become more abundant path to success. You cannot put a price on success. and affordable, but the majority of students and The only reason college is viewed as being “too their parents still end up thousands of dolpricey” is because tuitions at public and lars in debt. In recent years, the middle private schools are rising. Prices go class has experienced a hard blow up on everything; therefore, because of sharp increases in Americans can’t expect Hailey Johns Brandi Martin college tuition. college tuition to Feature Writer Junior Editor According to stay the same., families in the 2009-2010 school While colleges try to keep tuition as low as they year paid from $172 to $1,096 more than the precan, they too are flooded with financial issues. The costs vious year’s tuition, depending on the college. According to for faculty salaries, maintaining facilities and utilities take, some schools, such as the University of up a large portion of a college’s operating budget. Financial California, have experienced a tuition increase as high aid lowers the cost of college for students, reducing the as 30 percent. These tuition increases result in more stuamount of money colleges take in from students. This dent loans, and 25 percent of students with loans end up causes yearly tuition to rise in order to make up for the $35,000 or more in debt when they finish their education, amount of money not received from students. says moneywatch.bnet. According to The Collegian Online Edition, running a Considering the fact that the 21st cencollege costs more than what is paid in tuition and fees. tury is a highly competitive time for jobs, Colleges try to keep the tuition as low as they can, and this a good education is absolutely essential. effort should be enough to say that colleges aren’t too pricMany careers now require further advanceey when offering a world-class education. Colleges can’t ment in education beyond a bachelor’s degree. Medicine, forfeit their income of money just to gain a few more stulaw and other fields require undergraduates to attend dents that can’t afford to pay higher tuition. They have to graduate school for a more narrow study of their field. worry about their own financial concerns. While college However, when an undergraduate comes out of college tuition is rising nationally, a quality education is worth thousands of dollars in debt, he or she is less likely to the cost. attend an expensive graduate program. Doctors, lawyers A college education isn’t something a student will only and dentists will soon become few and far between if eduse once, but a valuable factor when applying for jobs in ucation continues to be a reward for the wealthy. the future. Ivy League schools cost approxi European countries had the right idea when they inmately $50,000 a year, but graduates are stituted public universities with little to no cost. If free edualmost guaranteed a job with a higher startcation worked for primary and secondary schools, it seems ing salary. like it would work for higher education as well. For the most Students who attend top schools in the nation, such part, universities in France are public and charge low tuition. as Harvard and Yale, are in higher demand than ones who go to In Ireland, the states pay the costs to educate undergraduates. In cheaper schools that aren’t as well known. When you choose to England, the government caps the cost to a certain amount to go to a community college, the prices are lower, but you risk the make schools more affordable. With the exception of Ireland and chance of facing unemployment after you graduate. (based on a survey Spain, the United States has a higher unemployment rate than any Students are getting everything they pay for when they go to a of 380 students) top university. of the European countries, according to A better-educated population might contribute to lowering the unem Education is priceless. Putting a certain limit on the amount of money ployment rate. spent for college is inaccurate in respect to the quality of education a student is re College is becoming more of a business agreement than a preparation course for ceiving. Students pay what their education is worth to them, and colleges have a right the real world. It is obvious that changes need to be made sooner rather than later. to charge it.

•PRO 88%

CON 12%•

EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Joy Owens Jessica Tobin

JUNIOR EDITORS Katie King Brandi Martin

MANAGING EDITOR Elizabeth Huntley

NEWS EDITOR Carly Holland



SENIOR EDITORS Ryan Duckett Kyle Keith




ASSISTANT FEATURE EDITORS Whitney Howell Kaitlyn Reddy

FEATURE WRITERS Bella Bonnessi Hailey Johns Natalie Rice

OPINION EDITOR Kaylan Proctor ASSISTANT OPINION EDITORS Kayla Sciupider Josh Wentzel

STAFF WRITERS Tyler Bice Lauren Gentile Diane Gromelski Angela Gross Autumn Hardin Josh Heatherly Jamie Hunt Brandon McArthur Katlyn McCarthy Rachel Shoemaker Aury St. Germain De’Shawn Thomas Marissa Treible


BP can make no excuses for oil spill


Art by Katie Huntley

student stands in the cafeteria, gazing at the drink machine. Sugar-filled sodas and energy drinks stare back at them. Unable to withstand the pressure, he feeds a dollar into the machine and receives a calorie-filled drink almost guaranteed to cause weight gain. The direct and indirect costs of obesity in the United States are estimated to be up to $147 billion a year, according to news reports from CNN. Obese Americans spend 42 percent more to maintain their health than those who are a healthy weight. The U.S. Army recently declared obesity a matter of “national security,” since many recruits are too overweight to fight. This problem is especially prevalent in younger age groups. One in five American children are now considered overweight. This means the rate of obesity among children has tripled since 1980, according to the American Obesity Association. It has become an epidemic, and such an epidemic among children is something that schools should help solve. Unfortunately, the issue is pushed aside. Our cafeteria has tried to address the problem. All food is baked instead of fried and fresh vegetables are served daily. There are guidelines they are required to follow, and they have done an admirable job in attempting to make the food healthier. However, there is only so much they can do. Because of time constraints, they are forced to use instant mashed potato pearls and mass-produced food may be unhealthy. The removal of daily physical education from most school curricula does not help. We are only required to take one semester of P.E. freshman year. Nationally, the percentage of high school students enrolled in a daily P.E. program has been cut in half and is now only a



Talons & Feathers Feather to all spring sports athletes for the effort they put into their seasons. More feathers to the soccer, softball, baseball and track teams who competed in post-season play. Talon to the persons who vandalized the walkway to X-building Feather to Jason Rhodes for being recognized as the Henderson County Teacher of the Year Talon to the gradual fading of the paint on the senior steps

hy? It’s a question I have found myself asking quite often in the days after the Gulf oil spill. Why did it happen? Why hasn’t it been fixed? Why should the rest of America care? Why do I care? The simplest question to answer is why I care. For starters, both of my parents grew up on Joy Owens the Gulf coast and most of my family still live in the area. After countless summer vacations and Thanksgiving holidays spent on the Gulf beaches, it is safe to say that it is my second home. Furthermore, the sheer size of the environmental damage it has already caused sickens me. And I know some people will call me a “tree hugger,” but I guess seeing oilslicked animals appeals to the basic humanity in me. As for why the spill happened, the answers are a little more complex. The technical explanation is long, but in simplest terms some cement somewhere failed and allowed methane gas into the pipeline, which caused it to explode. Now investigations are turning up alarming evidence that this failure could possibly have been predicted. Because the oil rig is owned by private companies (mainly BP), there are few federal regulations and even fewer inspections. So that means that the cement that failed didn’t even undergo pressure tests. And the big one: the Deepwater Horizon well had already been issued citations as an acknowledged source of pollution. So why weren’t these warnings heeded? Why has BP still not found a solution? I understand that this enormous problem cannot be solved overnight, but I can’t help but be skeptical when over 30 days have passed and there are still no signs of slowing the leak. It seems like BP is unqualified to fix their own mess. After all, when one of the proposed solutions is named “junk shot,” it’s hard to remain positive. I mean really, does shooting golf balls and tires into the ocean ever sound like a good idea? I would think that with the estimated $6 million BP is spending per day, they would have incentive to stop their money wasting away. Why should the rest of America care? First, the state economies of the Gulf region still haven’t recovered from Hurricane Katrina and now they are losing their main income: revenue from recreation and tourism. And if you still can’t bring yourself to care just think about this: that seafood you love to eat is soon going to be nonexistent if this oil spill is allowed to wipe the fish out. There are so many things wrong with this spill. We can’t even get an official count on the number of gallons spilled; it’s anywhere from 9.8 million to 55.5 million barrels as of May 12. This ridiculously wide range highlights the mystery surrounding this event. If BP doesn’t find a solution and the worst case scenario plays out, this accident will have caused irreparable environmental damage not to mention upwards of $300 billion in costs. I want some answers to my “why’s” before my second home turns into a shiny, black memory.

The student forum of West Henderson High School is published seven times each year by the newspaper journalism class. The purpose of Wingspan is to convey school and community news to the students, faculty, administration and community. Wingspan content is determined by an editorial board of student editors. Wingspan is a Southern Interscholastic Press Association All-Southern, National Scholastic Press Association All-American, Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Medalist and N.C. Scholastic Media Association All-North Carolina and Tar Heel Award publication. Staff editorials express the opinion of the editorial board. Columns reflect the opinions of the writer. Circulation is 1,200. Printed by The Mountaineer of Waynesville, NC 28786. Contact the staff at


“It’s not necessarily a problem, but it does need to be taken into consideration. Obese students get picked on, so schools should try to hel...

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