Soda Machine Contracts

Did you know that there is competition in schools for everything from grading programs to soda machines? Did you know that YOUR experience at school is partially dictated by the companies that win these contracts? Let's take a look at some of the facts that surround the secrecy of school vending machines.

First of all, vendors want to force schools to choose one company as a sponsor. Then the company (let's say Pepsi or Coke) makes a one-time payment to a meat-head football coach or athletic director (who was somehow left in charge of making the decision in the first place). After that, the sponsor goes on making large profits and the school might get a small percentage of sales. The key is that the big money comes once for the school and for the next decade for the vendors. 

The lack of choice comes next. The school district is contracted to sell items for the vendor. While there might be some choice as to which unhealthy drinks get sold, it's still left up to an outside sales entity rather than anyone (other than the football coach) in the school district. Profit margins might be large for bottled water, but sales are much higher on sugary drinks, so the vendor a district chooses will likely push only some healthier options. The lack of choice may also extend to snack foods, depending on the contract. And it is a contract.

Hidden expenses eventually emerge. Each refrigerated vending machine costs $400 a year to run. Maybe more or less, depending on when it's plugged in. If electricity costs skyrocket, a district is not exempt from the signed contract, but the big question is whether or not each school district makes enough money to offset the cost of running the machine each year AND take a small profit to the sports programs (or heaven-forbid academic programs). Another hidden expense is the vending machine inefficiency, paid for by students. If parents purchase the drinks at the grocery store, each 16 ounce drink might cost about half the cost for students at school, who may not even have permission from parents to be drinking the beverages being sold. On top of that, high school kids love making their own (sometimes poor) decisions about their favorite drinks and snacks, and if those choices are available, they will be popular, which can help lead to more overweight young adults.

While the initial allure for an athletic director would be signing an exclusive contract with a vendor, a more sensible choice would be to purchase a vending machine or run a school store and decide as a district what will be stocked. These non-profit, student-run activities provide real-world learning and more oversight.

Stephen King's It Book Review

by Isaiah C

Stephen Kings It is a psychological horror novel about a group of children who come together to put an end to a monster who haunts the sewers of the fictional town of Derry. The monster known simply as It as it has the ability to change it’s shape based on peoples fears. It usually takes the shape of a circus clown and calls itself Pennywise the dancing clown. The book is divided in two parts that switch seemingly at random between the years 1957-1958 and the years 1985 -1986. The book centers around the lives of seven children who all come with their own problems as they grow into adults while fighting the monster It. The children are seven people who form an unlikely friendship due to them all dealing with their own problems such as speech problems , smothering parents, abuse, getting into trouble and racial fueled hatred.  I wouldn’t recommend  this book for people who scare easily especially if you have a fear of clowns. A remake of the book is soon coming out as a two part movie that I also wouldn’t recommend to the faint of heart.


Frozen Film Review

by Kiersten K

Frozen is a Disney movie that had just been released a few weeks ago. I thought it was more directed towards little kids until I saw it. The first time I saw the movie, I was with my grandma and my mom and they fell in love with it just like I did. Frozen had a mixture of different emotions and feelings throughout the whole movie which is what I loved best. It had outstanding humor from many of the characters but it had serious, sad, and romantic moments as well. This movie is filled with laughter from the kids and from the adults. One of the characters that creates the most humor would have to be Olaf the snowman. The things he says and his actions are just hysterical that makes the whole theatre roar with laughter. Another thing that was great about this movie was the music. I usually don’t like when there’s random singing and dancing in movies but this one was different. The songs weren’t too long during the movie and the lyrics are phenomenal. Some of the songs from the movie have actually made the top charts of iTunes. The music just fit so well with everything that was happening in the movie and it created some foreshadowing as well. I recommend this movie to everyone. It is definitely worth the money.