AFH Photo//Aijanah Sanford
Did you know that most students in Boston Public Schools don’t eat the lunches they are provided during the school day? While BPS has made attempts to fix this issue, it’s still not fully fixed. Improving the quality of school lunches is a matter that should be taken seriously. 
In most school cafeterias, students often throw out their food. The 2015 New York Times article “Why Students Hate School Lunches” states “Food and nutrition directors at school districts nationwide say that their trash cans are overflowing while their cash register receipts are diminishing as children either toss out the healthier meals or opt to brown-bag it.’’According to the article, the food and nutrition directors saw that trash barrels in the cafeterias were full with the lunch that is served to their students. This is something that has to be fixed because in the long run, it will lead to bigger issues like some students going hungry.
A good step towards improving school lunches is to have students get involved in creating the menu that will be served each day. School lunches are made for students, not the staff; therefore, students should have a say in what is being served. This is also an opportunity for the students to put their cultural dishes on the menu, which will make it more diverse.
 “The people that make the school lunches, they don't really care about how they do it, or if the food has good flavor,’’ said 16-year-old Eddie Batista of Margarita Muñiz Academy.
The Times article also states, “There’s been a movement to relax a few of the guidelines as Congress considers whether to reauthorize the legislation, particularly mandates for 100 percent whole grains and extremely low sodium levels, so school meals will be a bit more palatable and reflective of culinary traditions.’’ The article also goes on to say, “other than mandating more fruits and vegetables, the new regulations haven’t really changed anything except force manufacturers to re-engineer products so they meet the guidelines but not children’s taste expectations.” This is saying that the healthy meals that students get aren’t enjoyed because they lack flavor. However, it is possible to make better lunches that still comply with these guidelines. 
Students should get more involved with aspects of school life that affect their overall education. The staff in the schools need to consider that their preferences don't matter because the rules and regulations they make is for the students to follow, not them. Students should be more involved, especially with school lunches because the food is served to the students, but we don't have a say in what it is. 


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AFH Photo//Dominic Duong
Many parents have concerns over how their children are educated. At the heart of these issues is class size. Numbers in classes have gradually risen over the last few decades, and now it seems we have reached a crisis point. Numbers need to be reduced because at their current levels, the quality of students’ education is being negatively affected. Schools need smaller class sizes to stop students from disrupting class, allow teachers to have more one-on-one conferencing and encourage students to be more productive.
Smaller classes enable students to individually conference with teachers for help. “In middle school, the classes were big and the students were talkative and the teacher had no control over the classroom,” said Christofer Luna, a junior at Edward M. Kennedy High. “If the class were smaller, it would be quiet and more controlled.” 
In an interview with NPR, Jeremy Finn, a professor of education at the State University of New York at Buffalo, stated that classes of under 20 students are best. “In small classes, students' behavior changes even more than does teacher behavior,” he said. He added that students are better behaved, pay more attention and support each other in learning more. Furthermore, Finn pointed out that children who were in small classes for three or four years were more likely to graduate high school and take college entrance exams. So these early grades of small classes have long-lasting effects. 
 Research from the National Center for Biotechnology Information has shown that student-teacher relationships are “protective factors in school adjustment.” Also, a study conducted by the University of Turin found that positive and effective student-teacher relationships may play an important role in students' adaptation to the school environment, favoring both academic achievement and adaptive behaviors. 
“Small classes are less hectic because with less students asking questions and needing help, the teacher can get to each student in one class,” said Eddy Batista, a junior at Margarita Muñiz Academy.
 Having the opportunity to ask questions and engage encourages students to be productive and get more work done. According to an article posted by international education company Education First, small classes allow students to learn more and learn faster. “This means the class progresses through the course material more quickly. Their learning is enhanced by the confidence students develop to share their opinions and ask and answer questions, which also benefits their peers,” it says. 
According to the Student Teacher Achievement Ratio, or STAR, study conducted in the 1980s, when class sizes are reduced, student achievement increases about three additional months of schooling four years later. In other words, when student-teacher ratios decrease, student achievement increases.
 It’s clear that class sizes have a major effect on student learning. Smaller classrooms help students to not disturb the class, enable students to have one-on-one conferences with teachers for help, and motivate students to get more work done. 
Imagine you’re in a noisy class, with kids yelling and talking too loud. You can’t focus, you get distracted, you can’t ask questions, and the teacher won’t pay attention to you. Then imagine being in a small class—it’s proactive, you have more opportunities, you’re engaged. The teachers can learn about you so they can better teach you. Which one interests you more?


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AFH Art//Carol Foster
It was a bright sunny day in Hawaii, where humans had yet to be made. Nestled in the North Pacific Ocean were a couple of islands who loved each other dearly and had a child that was a tree. The lady island’s name was Marie, the man island’s name was Sebastian, and the tree’s name was Quinn. This family was special because Quinn was born with roots on both islands, which connected them to one another.
 One day, there was an enormous earthquake. But the only island that was damaged was Marie. Marie had been sobbing for hours while Sebastian wasn’t nearly as devastated. In fact, he looked the opposite of glum; he seemed happy. When Quinn saw her mom crying and her dad smiling, she began to question them.
 Quinn’s palm tree leaves lowered when she asked Marie, “Mommy, why are you so sad? Tears are in your eyes. You can talk to me.”
 “I am sad because of this earthquake Mommy had to deal with,” said Marie. “I had to go through it all on my own,” she replied with a frown.
Quinn then turned to Sebastian and started to question him.
“Daddy,” she asked. “Why are you happy?” 
“Well, I am happy, baby, because the earthquake has stopped and I wasn’t as badly affected as your Mommy!” Sebastian replied with a cheerful tone.
It had been a few days since the earthquake. Marie was still ravaged and broken, while Sebastian was clean and healthy. Marie teared up here and there, and Quinn noticed something was not right. She became worried, which led her to ask Marie what was wrong.
“Darling, Daddy and I are separating because of the earthquake.”
Quinn then realized that it was true. The islands were moving half an inch apart each day. Marie explained to Quinn that she and Sebastian were worried if they split up because Quinn had roots connected to both islands. Quinn had already noticed that the earthquake was driving their family apart.
It had been months since the earthquake. Quinn’s roots had now been separated. A branch of her roots was just on her mother and the rest of her roots were on her father. It seemed as if she was hovering over the water without any land beneath her, and she was nervous of what was to come. She kept on questioning whether she was to be with her father without her mother, or with her mother without her father. Nature was to take its course sooner or later.
The next day, Quinn woke up to the calling of her name from her mom and dad. Once Quinn opened her eyes, she saw that she was split in half. One half of her trunk was with her mom and the other half was with her dad. Although the earthquake tore apart her parents, it could not break up her family. Now Quinn doesn’t have to worry because she is with both parents every day.


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AFH Photo//Dominic Duong
I constantly boast about the numerous all-nighters I pull. I’d like to believe every night of unrest inches me closer to immunity from fatigue and closer to joining the Sleepless Elite. My sleepless nights were originally unintentional. Mix 9 pm trips to Starbucks with anxious thoughts looming above my head and add a dash of assignments I have yet to begin, and I have myself a sweet and spicy recipe for an all-nighter. 
At first, I found myself longing for a night when I could rest my head against my doughy memory foam pillow. But after some time, I grew to love the feeling of being exhausted. So much, in fact, I began to experience no apparent effects of being tired. I felt a rush. It was like living on the wild side, without consequences. 
Of course, the sleepiness sometimes creeps over and nudges me. These are the ways I brush it off.
  • -Drink a tall glass of cold water.
  • -Watch a short horror film to raise your adrenaline levels.
  • -Hold your breath.
  • -Expose yourself to blue light to prevent the body’s natural production of melatonin.
  • -Lastly, don’t stay up just for the sake of it, have a goal, whether it be just to have fun or finish that book report you’ve been putting off.

Hopefully, after all those tips, you have made use of your all-nighter and now you may reap the rewards of being productive. Best thing is, the longer you go without sleep, the sweeter it feels once you actually succumb to it. So go ahead, knock yourself out and indulge in a full night’s rest—you deserve it.


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AFH Photo//Shisa King
I enrolled in my first AP class in the 10th grade—AP Seminar—without understanding the weight and drag of the class. It seemed like every other day there was a research paper, essay or presentation due. For an expert procrastinator, and the queen of last-minute assignments, this was a complete disaster. 
To make it through, I communicated with my teacher and stayed after school twice a week, until I was satisfied with my work. There were late nights and early mornings spent doing classwork. But after awhile, my brain expanded with the work I did, and I adapted to the workload, eliminating the need for late nights. 
This was an immense help when I took multiple AP classes—AP English Language, U.S. History, and Chemistry—the next year, and was engulfed with enough work to bury a 16-year-old alive. But, I survived, with one hand reaching through the rubble to pass in paper after paper, until all the work was finished. I did this by being engaged and present in each one of my classes, by not being scared to ask for help and realizing certain sacrifices needed to be made, like cutting out free time and adding study time. 
I prioritized my academics and what I believed I would benefit most from. This eliminated excessive stress, such as work responsibilities, and helped me manage more of the workload for my AP classes. It is essential to know your limit and make decisions that will further what you find paramount instead of trivial.


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