Homework: Student Voices October 06, 2008

Though they may be sleep-deprived, students at Grand Junction High School and East Middle School have mustered enough energy to speak out on the presidential election, District 51’s bond issue, Colorado water concerns and school starting times for teens.

Obama, McCain should nix personal attacks

With a huge political election coming up in this world, our presidential candidates should be focusing on the important challenges facing our country, not issuing personal attacks against each other. This year, both candidates seem to be putting each other down in their commercials, which should be used for offering the public their proposed solutions to America’s difficult problems. In many commercials, they can’t just say what they want to do when they become president; instead, they insist on tearing down their opponent.

  We Americans cannot solve our nation’s problems without leadership. Our candidates must focus on the issues. Fortunately, modern technology offer opportunities for fact checks. For this year’s upcoming election, we should carefully scrutinize the candidates for president. Do we want a person who is going to work hard for our country and focus on the issues, or do we want a person who will simply blame others for this country’s problems? The American people deserve to hear where the candidates stand on real issues.

Brittney Borgard, 14, Grand Junction High School

Give school children enough room to learn

District 51 is bursting at the seams this year. Many schools have to bus their kids to schools with more room, even creating makeshift classrooms. In some elementary schools the student/teacher ratio is about 30/1. School board members put out a bond issue to raise taxes to build more schools for those students who don’t fit into the limit of students in the average classroom. So, why not? Would you want your child kicked out of public school just because there’s not enough room? Your money would be used to build schools for the next generation of children, who could, say, save the world.  I say, pay a bit more money to educate a child.

Megan Sherman, 12, East Middle School

Candidates, citizens should focus on water rights

  Colorado’s water rights are an extremely important issue that shouldn’t be ignored; candidates running for president need to make their positions clear.

  Governor Bill Ritter stated at the recent Barack Obama rally that Obama’s position on water rights is that the seven states compact should be left alone. Republican presidential candidate John McCain caused turmoil in Colorado when he told Pueblo newspapers that the 1922 Colorado River Compact (shared among seven states) needed revision. Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., said renegotiating the compact would occur “over my dead body.”

  Many people now have suspicions of McCain, saying he proposed the states that have larger growth deserve more water from the Colorado River. Instead of laying claim to more of Colorado’s water, states like California, Nevada and Arizona could be doing more to conserve their water needs. Also, conversion of salt water to fresh water could allow coastal states to attain water more efficiently. 

  Sen. McCain owes it to the seven states, including Colorado, to lay out his plan for our river and the compact if he wants votes in this important swing state. I, myself, as a freshman in high school and resident of the Grand Valley, do not want to be left with a severely limited water supply. Few subjects are more important to Colorado than our water rights.

Nikki Scott, 14, Grand Junction High School

School bell rings too early for teens

  At 7:30 a.m. the bell rings for most middle and high schools in Grand Junction. This is a major issue that we need to fix. Recent studies from the National Sleep Foundation show that teens ages 13-18 need 9-10 hours of sleep a night for best results in school and physical activities. The studies also show that teens react to long days by staying up late at night to relax and get away from school problems.

  Think about this: If teens have to wake up at 5:30-6:30 every morning, they have to go to bed at 8 p.m. to get the exact amount of sleep needed. Research has showed that sleep deprivation impairs teens’ ability to pay attention, makes them less adaptive to learning new things and makes their moods change during a school day. If Grand Junction middle and high schools start later, students will make a change in behavior. So, come on, people, wake up to this issue, and let’s come together to fix it.

Gracie Madsen, 12, East Middle School


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