OES’ Sugar Debate

By Graham O’Connor

How much is too much?

That’s the question OES was asking in 2015 when they realized how much sugar was in our school lunches. Students of all grades were getting dessert at least twice a week, not to mention the sugar-filled juices available to them at lunch. Changes had to be made.

Naturally, this was not going to go over well with the students. After all, why would it? No matter how many times we’re reminded how bad sugar is for us, you can’t change the fact that it tastes really freakin’ good.

Fortunately, among a sea of totalitarian faculty and staff, there was one voice of hope: Ann Sulzer, who proposed putting together a committee of students from every grade level to discuss what changes would be made.

The group first met on the third of December. It was mostly an introductory meeting; students introducing themselves to the group and talking in small groups about sugar in general. The expectations were laid out by the Food Services Director, Kelly Cowing; sugar needed to be reduced by about a third of its current level.

There were seven representatives from the Lower School, chosen through a variety of methods (advanced, thought-out democratic elections with planning, the teacher pulling a name out of a hat, etc, etc). The Middle School had six representatives, two from each grade, who were chosen in similar fashions. In contrast, the Upper School only had two student representatives from Community Board; thanks to the wisdom and leadership of the angelic Jordan Elliot, Upper School was not required to make any changes to the sugar intake and instead served as the primary negotiators for the Lower School and Middle School.

From the get-go, I was pretty sure that the younger kids would not be happy with the outcome of this committee. They had clearly voiced that they did not want to change the sugar intake (those darn kids), but it was obvious that this was a matter of how sugar would be reduced, not if it would be reduced. Of course, if the Lower Schoolers were allowed to make high-level decisions for OES, I’m sure we would have a vastly different (and more entertaining) school experience.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make the second meeting because I caught a nasty bug (NOT because I was suspended, you gossiping filthmonkeys). Luckily for me, the gracious and breathtaking Peter Bloch went in my place and gave me an email summary.

Proposals had finally been made. The Lower Schoolers were willing to sacrifice chocolate milk on Fridays, which makes up for about 25 grams of sugar in the Lower School lunches, comes pretty close to the 27 grams that the Lower School was asked to take out of their lunches. The Middle School has made several noble sacrifices, reserving juice for a single day and cutting chocolate milk. They are, however, still having dessert twice a week. However, removing the juice for four days, which is notorious for having extremely large amounts of sugar, cuts the Middle School sugar intake by a whopping 66 percent (don’t worry, Lower School parents; the Lower School already has juice limitations). Whoulda thunk it?

As for Upper School, we got it pretty easy (although most of us are pretty upset about losing desserts on Friday, which was decided long before this meeting ever took place). It was more like a slap on the wrist, with the only comment being about how advisory snack being healthier. However, I would like to point out that this is totally, totally okay. As pointed out by Jordan Elliot, OES believes that as students get older and mature, they should be given more freedom. So yeah, if being mature means I can have as much sugar as I want, I am super mature.

For the too-long-didn’t-read folks, here’s the gist of it: we had too much sugar, we put together a committee of students from every grade, and now we don’t have too much sugar! Perfect ending, right?

Wrong. Because no matter who you are, or what you do, Peter Langley will still have 24 hour CCTV security cameras set up over the dessert trays to ensure that no one –and I mean NO ONE– takes more than one dessert. You don’t want to know what happens if you do.

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