Problems and solutions: Students take aim

Four charter school 8th graders on society's problems


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  • Tyler Loewrigkeit Photos provided




  • Tia Croom




  • Kymberly Corvino




  • Ella Orellana




— 8th graders of Kyle McCall's Writing Class at Sussex County Charter School for Technology were asked to come up with a problem in their local community and propose three possible solutions. These four students were chosen because of their well-written, thoroughly-researched essays that address serious problems along with three logical and realistic solutions.

Tia Croom, from Highland Lakes: Drugs and Alcohol in High Schools

Drugs are a big problem in high schools. More than 17 percent of high school students use drugs or drink alcohol. There are a lot of drugs out there, but we can fix this by educating teens better, talking to teens who are at risk, and giving students advice on how to deal with their problems.

One of the solutions to the drug problem is education. You can have your health teacher educate you about how bad drugs are and that they can cause disease or death. Education is very important because adults can show kids how bad drugs can affect your life. On the website newbeginningsdrugrehab.org it says “In order to prevent long term issues with drug and alcohol abuse among children and teens, education is necessary.” But as much as you tell kids, some will still do it because they are curious or feel pressured into doing it. This is just one of many possible solutions to this dangerous problem.

A second solution is to keep tabs on kids. What I mean by that is when a kid seems to start acting different or you suspect they are doing drugs, you need to tell someone. This goes for teachers and students. This might not always work because some students are afraid they might get in trouble or they might hurt their friend.

Another solution is to teach kids how to deal with their problems. Most kids turn to drugs or alcohol because they have personal problems, they are stressed, or they are simply bored. If we give teenagers better options, then they won’t do drugs. For example, if they are going through something or are stressed, make a support group they can go to, or find a comforting person they want to go to and discuss their problems. Not just the principal or a guidance counselor, but someone specifically trained to help teens with problems. Some kids don’t want to go to them because that could create more drama or they don't feel comfortable. If they’re bored, then give them a hobby or a sport to play.

In conclusion, drugs in high school is a big problem. On newbeginningsdrugrehab.org it says more than 17% of high school students use drugs and alcohol. In order to fix this problem we can educate kids, take notice of their behavior, and teach them other options instead of drugs. There are many more solutions to this, but it's not enough to think of them. You need to take action. Take action today.

Kymberly Corvino, from Montague: Animal Testing vs. Human Testing

If a scientist forced you to test a product that they weren’t sure would kill you or not, would you do it? Don’t you think it would be cruel for them to test on you without your consent? What if you couldn't say whether or not you were willing to test the product? Isn’t this the same thing? Every year in the U.S., over 25 million animals are used in biomedical experimentations. Dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, pigs, sheep, monkeys, chimpanzees, and more are tested on unwillingly. No matter how small or “dumb” an animal is considered, a life is a life, and a life matters. We should not test medicine or products on animals. There are many possible solutions to this problem.

We should not test on animals because they have feelings, which means they feel pain. Scientists need to stop treating animals like lifeless, mindless creatures. At www.peta.org it even states “It’s unethical to sentence one hundred million thinking, feeling animals to life in a laboratory cage and intentionally cause them pain, loneliness, and fear.” At peta.org it doesn’t only say this but much more. It lists the top five reasons to stop animal testing. Animal testing does not always have the same effect on us that it has on animals. Peta.org even states that animal testing is bad science because “The Food and Drug Administration reports 92 out of every 100 drugs that pass animal tests fail in humans.” This statement just proves that although we are similar to animals we are not identical, so we can't just test something on animals and expect it to work on us. Since the tests don't always work that is why there should be volunteers that choose to have the product tested on them. This is just one solution to this problem.

Scientists should test on volunteers only! The reason scientists should test on volunteers only is because they have a voice and they have a choice. Animals however don’t have any of these. They are just brought into the laboratory to feel pain and suffering which often leads to death. Prisoners with life sentences might want to volunteer to test a product so that they feel that although they did something very bad, in the end they did something that can benefit another. The website alternatives-to-animal-testing.org gives different alternatives to testing. It even states that modern day scientists use human volunteers to test their products. In order for a person to volunteer they would have to know all the possible side-effects so that they know what to expect just in case things went wrong. Volunteering is not the only way to stop animal testing.

Did you know that human cells and tissues could be a possible solution to stop animal testing? Some scientists know that in today’s world animal testing is cruel and expensive. Although some scientists may believe it is wrong to test on animals, others may believe that since animals are very similar to humans they will be perfect test subjects. As stated before, scientists should already know that 92 out of 100 drugs tested on animals fail in humans. Many disagree with the statement “animals are only test subjects,” because they believe that animals are not just subjects, they are living and breathing creatures. Some of the world's most forward-thinking thinking scientists have moved on to develop and use methods for studying diseases and testing products that replace animals. These modern scientists use methods that include using human cells and tissues. Alternatives to Animal Testing gives lots of modern ways for scientists to do tests on things other that animals.

In conclusion, we see how animal testing is not the only method that needs to be done in order to know how products will work on us. Animal testing does not always work on us right away so scientists can find other methods such as human volunteers so that they can see straight away if the product will work on us. Overall, animal testing is wrong and needs to be changed because a life is a life no matter how small or “dumb” the animal is considered.

Ella Orellana, from Montague: Hunger

Do you remember ever seeing those really sad commercials about starving children in Africa or in China? People get really sad for a couple of minutes and then they forget about it and don’t donate the money the organization wants you to donate. Some people in the world really care about our world’s hunger problem that keeps growing worse every day in places like in New York, Africa, China, or anywhere. We can solve this problem little by little. I have an idea or two to fight hunger.

We need to have more soup kitchens, hunger shelters or food drives. But that is where we come to a problem. I know some people don't want to receive food because they feel embarrassed. No one really talks about it. It is one of those thoughts that you think of in the shower or when you can’t sleep. We need to spread the word out. For example, you can write an essay or a commercial. According to the Hunger Solution Organization, “As the only anti-hunger organization whose services reach every county in the state, we are fighting hunger not only today, but also finding long-term solutions to end hunger in the future. Take action to make sure everyone has access to the healthy food they need.” I agree, we really need to take action and create more food drives and soup kitchens, but there are other possible solutions.

Many people can start volunteering at soup kitchens and shelters. This will really help during the holidays when poor people want to celebrate happily. According to the “Ten Ways to End Hunger” website, “Many people like to volunteer on Thanksgiving or Christmas because it feels good to help people in need, but food banks, food pantries and soup kitchens need dedicated volunteers year-round. Start a new tradition and sign up to help on a different day, like Arbor Day, or your birthday. Many emergency food providers are in need of volunteers with specialized skills, such as accounting, social media or website design. If you have something unique to offer, talk to the organization to see how you can get involved.” Try now and offer to help, it feels great when you give back. Now onto the next solution.

Job preparation can help people with a low-income job land a better job. There are many organizations to help people with job preparation. We need to create more ads about this because I have never seen an ad about helping people get a better job. The website careergear.org helps people get proper work clothes and provides them with job preparations.

In conclusion, we need to have more soup kitchens or hunger shelters or food drives and we need to start volunteering more and finally have more organizations to have people get better jobs. These are just a few of the possible solutions to this problem, but they can really help make our world a better place.

Tyler Loewrigkeit, from Sparta: Drug Abuse

Have you ever been asked by a friend or family member to do something that you knew was wrong? Today, drug abuse is one of those moments for many people. However, with the three solutions explained throughout this essay, it will be easier for you to avoid or solve the problem. One of the solutions is to have a license to buy or distribute drugs. Another would be fewer prescription drugs given to the patients who need them. And finally, we can watch what people are buying and using that are related to drugs. This is a problem that has been happening all over America and these solutions will be able to stop this major problem in our area.

One of the solutions as stated above says that you will need a license to buy or distribute drugs. This makes it harder for young adults to get their hands on them. For example, today the amount of young adults that have been involved with drugs is 7 out of 10. According to the website “Division of Addiction Services,” they have always been there to help their clients. This makes it easier to help someone that you know that has a drug abuse problem. It would be safer if someone had to be 21 or older to buy drugs. This is only one of the three solutions, however.

Another solution to the drug abuse problem is to give people less prescription medicine. Some people take the medication with alcohol, and that is dangerous and can make them become more addicted to both. According to the website “Sun-Sentinel,” there has been a law passed stating that opioid drug distribution is limited to prevent more deaths from overdose. This is just the start of giving people less medicine so that they will not become addicted. This is the second solution of the three.

The final solution to this problem is for the police to have a record of how much people buy or sell to the public. For example, when a person buys or sells drugs, the police take record and see if it is safe for the people and the environment. The website “sellercentral” states that “You need an EIN license to sell or distribute drugs to the public.” This make the police's job easier by looking into the license to see what people have been doing. This is another way that we can make our community safer.

The drug problem will only get bigger if we do nothing to solve it. By requiring licenses to buy or sell drugs, prescribing fewer drugs, and keeping tabs on drug activity, we can help the world become a safer place for many people. In conclusion, drug abuse will become less of a problem in our community with the solutions stated in this essay.






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