Honorable Mayor and Board of School Committee,
My name is Jordan Trombly. I am an 18 year old senior at Manchester Memorial High School that lives in ward 8. I will also be voting in the upcoming elections. In this email I would like to bring to your attention two issues within the Manchester public schools. The first issue is bagel sandwiches and the second is bake sales. To start, bagel sandwiches— I would like to share a story. Now coming into high school as a freshman, things can be kinda scary. Fortunately for me, I played soccer with many upperclassmen who could give me advice on how to have the best experience in school. So one day I was standing in the hot lunch line waiting to see what was available that day when one of the seniors from my team came up to me. He was shocked that I was standing in the hot lunch line and told me that I should try the bagel sandwiches. He added how out of everything the school served it was the best possible option and among the healthiest. Out of curiosity, I tried the bagel sandwich and was amazed at how delicious it was. From then on it was the only thing I got for lunch which certainly increased my overall high school experience. But then, the school board decided to pull the option of bagel sandwiches with no explanation. In frustration I went to my class president Mr. Eric Langley and multiple lunch ladies who told me that the school board said how the bagels were too high in sodium and not healthy. So in doing some research about the subject I learned that public schools need to meet certain dietary guidelines put out by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). In the case of bagels, they need to meet the requirements for whole grains and sodium. So if the bagels served are 100% whole grain they meet the first requirement. As for sodium they have to meet the requirement for sodium target 2 which says that a food item needs to be less than or equal to 1,080 mg. For the average plain bagel sold the sodium level is about 139 mg while a toasted plain bagel is only 115 mg. With these facts, bagels are within both requirements set by the USDA under the dietary guidelines and should have never been taken out and should be put back in the school’s lunches.
Onto the second issue of the bake sale, I believe that there should be at least one bake sale allowed each week for a club or sport to fundraise. According to the USDA, they will not be imposing regulations on bake sales. In a letter to Congress the USDA also said how schools have the sole responsibility to allow bake sales if the wish. So the question is, are bake sales too unhealthy to use as a fundraiser? Well in high school I have been told at least 50 times that the teachers and administration are preparing us students for college and life. From what I have learned so far, in life it is up to the person to make the best possible decision for his or her self while keeping in mind what will make them happy. With this in mind, I do not think that the school board should be able to tell young adults whether they can buy sweets or not just because something may be unhealthy. If a student believes that a bake sale is unhealthy then as a young adult they should think for themselves and simply not buy anything. If the school board holds this power where will it stop? Will they take away the halloween event from the student council because it involves giving out candy? Switching to the reason why bake sales are so important to clubs and sports is the simple fact that it brings in a lot of money. In contrast with other fundraisers, the bake sale is the #1 seller. When my senior class held a bake sale in school they raised around $500 dollars. With the senior classes Buffalo Wild Wings fundraiser they would only make money if they made the business at least $100 and only kept 5% of the profit. With other fundraisers like movies and dine outs, some students are also not able to attend because of conflicts outside of school. With the bake sale it only take about 2 minutes to walk by on their way to class or at lunch to support. In conclusion I believe that the school board should allow schools to bring back bagel sandwiches and allow a bake sale for clubs and sport and other activities at least once a week. Thank you for your time and hope you all do your part to help students have the ability to create the best possible high school experience.
Editor’s note: The school board approved new standards allowing for a maximum of nine bake sales within one year, but Mr. Adamakos has yet to allow a club to hold one.