Gateway: Opinion

Letters to the Editor, Aug. 11

Editor’s note: Jessica Takehara, a social studies and language arts teacher at Harbor Ridge Middle School, asked her seventh-grade students last school-year to write letters to the editor as part of a class project. Here is some of what they submitted:

Plastic problems

There are many things threatening the environment on Earth today. But a fairly alarming one is plastic. Plastic is a concerning problem, and large industries and corporations should limit their plastic use and production.

One reason plastic use and creation should be controlled is that plastic is either not biodegradable, or it takes thousands of years to degrade. In landfills, plastic is piling up by the tons, and it will not degrade. Most plastic is petrol-chemical based, which means that it cannot naturally degrade. The only plastic that can naturally degrade is made of organic polymers (biodegradable). The only problem is, biodegradable plastic is expensive and more difficult to make, so big corporations tend to avoid it. This is just one reason plastic is creating a large problem on Earth.

Also, plastic is dangerous to all organisms. Plastic is made of polycarbonates, and polycarbonates contain BPA. BPA seeps from the plastic material into the contents/liquids that it is holding. In fact, studies have shown that EPA increases the occurrence of diabetes, heart disease, and unhealthy enzymes. Is that not concerning? Another important piece of this information is that a study conducted by the CDA (Child Development Association) concluded that EPA was found in 95% of adults, and 93% of children?s urine.

All in all, big companies should limit how much plastic they use and produce. As a community, we could easily help, just one step at a time, do your part by switching to glass and/or using reusable bags.

Mia Longen

School starts too early

Important and pivotal parts of a child’s morning are neglected everyday for fear of being late for school. I know many kids who say that they simply do not have time for breakfast in the morning. Breakfast. The meal that is described as the most important meal of the day is being skipped by children. They claim that in the morning they have to choose between a good night’s sleep or breakfast. No child should have to make that choice. School starts too early.

Most schools don’t have lunch until at least three hours after school has commenced. If students skipped breakfast for the day, they are depriving themselves of food for roughly five hours. Sharpened performance and determination to succeed is something all classes require. If students’ stomachs are rumbling throughout the morning, their focus and attention span is going to decrease. In fact, studies have shown that the human brain is not fully active and aware until 10 in the morning.

I admit, moving the starting time of school back would cut into afternoon activities a little bit. But 45 extra minutes in the morning for children would do more good than it would do harm. Not to mention in addition to students, the teachers would also get some extra sleep. These are real problems that face youth. It is time to fix them to make the school experience for young people as positive as possible.

Josie Hampton

School uniforms

Should students have to wear uniforms? No. Kids at school shouldn’t wear uniforms.

School uniforms violate the student’s rights of freedom of expression. School uniforms make kids unable express themselves with their clothes! Kids want to express themselves with their clothing. Students need to be able to express who they are. They need to know that everyone is different and that everyone is unique in their own way.

Some families only have money to send their kids to school. If they have uniforms, then it’s additional expense for parents who pay taxes for a free public education. So if we have school uniforms that it will be a problem. School uniforms range from $100-plus.

Forcing children to wear a uniform can ignore their religious and cultural needs. For example, Sikh boys, Orthodox Jews and Islamic girls all express their religious beliefs through the way they dress. School uniforms are often not modest enough in covering the female body to suit Muslims. Also, this could lead parents to choose private faith schools.

School uniforms are usually not practical or pleasant to wear. They are usually old fashion. Also, wearing school uniforms are hard to enforce at public schools.

Madi Smith

If clearing trees for buildings, why not soccer fields?

Gig Harbor is a remarkable town that provides many opportunities for recreation and extracurricular activities. However, our town has a noticeable shortage of soccer fields. If we were to build more fields, many students struggling to juggle academics and schoolwork would benefit. For instance, last year my soccer team practiced until 9 p.m. due to limited field space. Depending on the day’s homework load, some nights I stayed up until 11 p.m. Waking up at 6 a.m. for school the next morning was a struggle. Not only was I physically exhausted, but I had only gotten 7 hours of sleep! If Gig Harbor were to have more soccer fields, students such as myself would have an easier time managing a 4.0 (GPA) while maintaining a healthy sleep cycle.

Building new soccer fields will not be a simple task. Some might argue that our town doesn’t have the funds for the construction of new fields. Although this does prove to be a problem, by setting up concession stands we can slowly recover the money over time and perhaps even profit. Another issue with building new fields is location. However, if our town can clear down hundreds of trees for new houses and neighborhoods, surely there is room for a few fields. Building a new soccer pitch in Gig Harbor will not only encourage exercise in our community, but fuel growth in one of the most popular sports in the Pacific Northwest.

Somer Mayer

History of Gig Harbor

Gig Harbor, the place we have all come to know and love. But have you ever thought about how our beloved Gig Harbor came to be? Today, through the quaint little stores and restaurants, we haven’t really taken the time to think about how did Gig Harbor come to be.

Gig Harbor is a small city located in Pierce County along the Puget Sound. In 1841, explorers from the Wilkes Expedition discovered what we know as “Gig Harbor,” and that’s exactly what they named it. In 1867, three fisherman built houses, which could be considered the beginning of Gig Harbor. In the next few years, Gig Harbor turned into a large fishing community full of Croatian and Scandinavian people.

Ferries and boats were the main transportation between the Gig Harbor peninsula and Tacoma. This all changed thanks to the construction of the Narrows bridge in 1950. During this time of construction, Gig Harbor was home to approximately 1,000 people. Thanks to the help of Tacoma, the Gig Harbor population continues to grow.

Gig Harbor now has a population of about 7,126, according to the 2010 census, and will continue to grow with its beauty and abundance of laughter and uniqueness. Many people won’t consider how lucky we are to live in a place like this, but for now let’s just appreciate the place we have all come to know and love.

Landon Sims

Anti-Clinton propaganda is irrational

Anti-Clinton propaganda is irrational.

Age doesn’t alter beliefs. If anything, older age equates to greater experience. Only some older people don’t accept new ideas; these types of people didn’t accept different ideas even when they were younger. The only downside of old age is lack of cognitive function, though Hilary Clinton doesn’t show any of this.

People should vote regardless of who they believe will win. If people traded their candidate’s beliefs for their popularity, many votes would be nullified. A person’s beliefs aren’t solely based on their economic and social class. Their beliefs and class aren’t always strictly aligned. If this were the case, nearly every politician would favor the upper class instead of the lower and middle classes.

Statements said by Clinton that are considered to be “lies” are generally true. If Clinton wished for said statements to be used as hard facts, they would be more direct and factual. Being left-winged and being radical are not inherently bad things. Left-wing beliefs are more Democratic in nature; Clinton is a Democrat. There needs to be a balance in beliefs; to believe your way is “correct” is egocentric. Using a personal email for work is neutral, not bad. The failed foreign policies weren’t solely Clinton’s fault. Clinton was weighing the loss that the U.S. and its allies had against a greater future loss if the threats were to grow. There aren’t many legitimate counterclaims toward Hillary Clinton.

McCain Potasky

In Hillary we cannot trust

Hillary Clinton is obviously not fit for the title of U.S. president. There are so many reasons why, but I’ll name a quick few.

First, as most people seem to agree she is a downright liar. She twists the truth into a knot so tight that it’s hard for anyone to untie it. I cringe when I watch this woman speak. It’s almost as if all of the lies and false information are coming out of my television and hitting me square in the face.

Second, Clinton disrespects our nation’s military. My father was in the Air Force for almost 20 years. During Bill Clinton’s term as president, he had some friends in the Secret Service. They said that Hillary Clinton (who was First Lady at the time) and her husband always treated the men as if they were some sort of lowlife scum. To add to this treatment, Hillary always demanded the men turn away and never look at her. These men were endangering their own lives in order to project her, yet she treated them like they weren’t even there. This firsthand account clearly shows how much respect Clinton has for the U.S. military: None.

Finally, the shenanigans surrounding a certain email account of Clinton were recently deemed “inappropriate” by the U.S. Department of State. This is also unacceptable. How are we supposed to trust a president that can’t even be fully trusted by the government? Oh, that’s right ... we can’t!

Nicholas Maticka

Build more schools

When I went to Artondale, by kindergarten I had decided that I loved school. My teacher was amazing, and I was reading second-grade material by the time I was through with my first year of elementary. However, the school had its problems. Now, looking back, I remember kids in the fourth and fifth grade cursing and making inappropriate jokes. The school is old, and the teachers aren’t necessarily top-grade. I know this because I moved in third grade, and I received a much better educational experience, progressing me to the top 2 percent in MSP scores; point being that I was doing a lot better at Purdy.

I think that there should be a new school in the Peninsula School District. This would, for one, solve many problems of overpopulation of the schools —Purdy happens to have approximately 750 students — and two, it would be able to provide a better learning experience than some of the older schools, allowing the students to have more success in life. I know that (in Artondale’s defense) students do usually have good grades and test scores. But back to the behavioral issues. There were, again, many kids that were spewing bad words and building bad habits. If there was another school, there would be a larger teacher/student ratio, allowing more supervision. All of these reasons are good ones to build another school. Let us make it happen.

Aidan Ziminsky

School shouldn’t assign homework

Harbor Ridge Middle school should get rid of handing out homework because it takes away from a student’s own time, and takes away from teachers’ own time because they have to grade the homework. After a day at school, students should have their own time when they come home, not bring school with them and have to complete another two hours of schoolwork. A lot of problems can come with this, including cheating off of a friend just to get the work done. Procrastination might take place as well, because the amount of work at hand is so intimidating to the student.

Removing homework from a student’s career would provide a healthy work/life balance, which would leave time for more outlets such as sports, afterschool activities and more.

Usually, homework is a review of what is learned in class, which is understandable if a student needs a little more time on a topic. However, if a teacher is sending home an assignment that is teaching a completely new subject to their students, that’s a different story. A teacher guiding his or her students through a topic, explaining to them what they might not understand is very different than a worksheet with a bunch of notes on it and some problems to complete based on those notes. You can’t ask a piece of paper a question.

School needs to either need to stay away from the idea of homework completely or at least monitor the amount given to students.

Nolan Littleton

Fund schools

I know one of the reasons my family moved to Gig Harbor is because of the outstanding public education system. In order to maintain this standard, our community needs to properly fund these schools. Reasons why we should take part in this action is because our schools are overcrowded, and need new technology. There was a bond in 2014 proposed to fund the building of a new school. Unfortunately, it failed. Many voters were concerned that this bond would raise their taxes greatly, when their taxes would only increase around $0.96, then gradually decrease over 20 years. This new school would have helped the overcrowding problem we have today. One example of overcrowding is at Purdy Elementary, where there are 744 students in a 600-student building. This means the third grade classes are taught in portables, disconnected from the school environment.

As new technology enters our world through robotics and engineering, the jobs for the next generation will change. We need to help prepare our students for those new jobs by keeping them up to date with technology. Things like iPads for elementary schools and robotic equipment for middle schools will help prepare our students for their future.

Schools are a vital part of a community. And in order to keep them in good quality, they need to be funded. The public schools in our district are overcrowded and need new technology. So let’s support our schools for the greater good.

Audrey Krishnadasan