A student’s story

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, everyone is reminded of the things they are thankful for. Some of these things might be the newest smartphone, having a warm fire in the house, or the Thanksgiving break coming up for students.

But among all the things that we are grateful for, we often forget to be thankful for the people around us. In school, students are surrounded by people whose main goal is to make sure students receive a proper education, but how often are these people thanked for all the hard work they do?

At most schools, the vast majority of students buy lunch from the school cafeteria on a daily basis. They go through the line, grabbing a tray that they know has been cleaned and sanitized. They get their choice of a variety of nutritious options, choosing from a wide selection of drinks, then checking out, paying far less than what the meal would cost in an actual restaurant.

When students come out the other side of the line, some complain about the food, rather than thinking of all the hard work put into preparing the meal. Some students even complain about the way the lunch staff places the food onto the plates, instead of thanking the them for standing there the whole lunch period just to make sure each student receives a suitable amount of food. Our entire cafeteria staff goes under appreciated, but they aren’t the only ones.

Possibly some of the most underappreciated school staff members are the ones that students rely on to get them to school each morning – the bus drivers. The men and women who dedicate their mornings and afternoons to getting students safely to and from school seldom get a thank you.

Not only do they drive all over the land owned by their school district, but the drivers do it rain, shine, sleet, snow or thunderstorm. Without the bus drivers, students would have to walk to school and some students would not even have the ability to get there at all.

“I walked a mile in first grade to get to school and these walks continued even into high school years,” said Alice Hilkert, teacher.

We seldom realize how lucky we really are until what we have is gone. Some people grew up without busses being able to reach their homes and having to walk miles to their schools. Today, we thankfully have our bus drivers to rely on.

Although they unfortunately go unnoticed, the staff at high schools work just as hard as teachers to help students. Without them there would be no school food, no clean floors and bathrooms or no transportation to and from school.

This Thanksgiving, give thanks to the people who work to make our schools a better place.

Thompson is a 10th grade student at Hughesville High School. Her column is published on the second and last Mondays of each month in the Education section. She can be reached at education@ sungazette.com.

A student’s story

Often times in life, we take things for granted. We forget that people didn’t always have smart phones or email or even electricity. We forget that people used to have to write letters in order to communicate over a distance, not just simply type it on a keyboard and hit the send button. We have evolved with our use of technology, but it often is debated whether it was for better or for worse.

Cellphones have a huge impact on a student’s life. The age at which people first get cellphones has changed dramatically. A teacher at Hughesville High School, Mrs. Shaner, got her first cellphone when she was 40. A student in my grade, Shayanna Hubbert, got her first one when she was 11. Now, even students below the age of 7 commonly have their own phones.

Cellphones have become essential parts of everyday life. “My cellphone is my life. I always get paranoid when I don’t have it,” said Hughesville High School student Kendra Smith.

Students everywhere are completely dependent upon their phones. Without them, they feel like they are missing part of themselves. Some students say their phone even makes up part of their identity. “I spend more time on my phone than with anyone else,” said Alisha McKinley, a sophomore at Hughesville.

Besides making students completely dependent upon them, cell phones also distract students. During class, the sound of cellphones going off can be heard several times in each class. Whether it’s a text, a Snapshot, or a tweet, once the noise goes off, it’s nearly impossible not to check.

“If my phone goes off, I feel like I have to check it, even at the risk of being caught,” said Hughesville student Rachel Thomas.

Students also have a tendency to play games during class which can lead to having their phone taken away or, in extreme cases, detention. Focusing on a phone game during class also can cause student’s grades to drop.

Cellphones also inhibit social interactions during school. Although students have the ability to send a picture to people across the country, they fail to engage in conversations with their own classmates. Students often spend half of their lunch time on their phones or talking about something related to it.

Though cellphones have all these negative effects on students, they also provide great advantages. Phones gives students the ability to communicate with people all around the world. Their social interaction is increased and they are exposed to different people, cultures and opinions that people have. Parents working hours away can check up on their children in the blink of an eye. Friends that don’t have classes with each other can stay in touch throughout the year.

Also, cellphones can help students research things that they might need for class. Most students don’t have a laptop to carry around so being able to use their phones for research can be a huge benefit.

Although cellphones have these benefits, their use is often questioned. Some think that the pros outweigh the cons. Others believe cell phones are simply a mistreated tool. Whatever the opinion, one thing is certain, most students today wouldn’t make it very long without their phones.

Thompson is a 10th grade student at Hughesville High School. Her column is published on the second and last Mondays of each month in the Education section. She can be reached at the Education Department email at education@sungazette.com.