STAR event teaches danger of e-cigarettes

Jessica Vanstory and Meredith Hess present their STAR project to underclassmen in the WHS library. “It was cool. I liked the way they talked to us as a group,” junior Jessica Hedges said. Photo by Emma Alderman.

Vanstoy and Hess qualify for nationals with presentation

Seniors Jessica Vanstory and Meredith Hess took on a project to spread public awareness of vaping.

To spread the awareness, Vanstory and Hess entered in the Illustrated Talk for their FCCLA STAR Event. Illustrated talk is a competitive event that includes an oral presentation for issues that concern the community. Vanstory and Hess said that their idea started when the vaping drama happened at the school.

“I think the topic is very timely because it’s important for teens to know the effect of e-cigarettes on their body,” FCCLA adviser Diane Breiner said.

Illustrated talk includes researching a project and then creating a visual. For the research, Vanstory and Hess compared the Kansas statistics of high school students to WHS students through an anonymous survey.

“I liked doing the survey because it was interesting to find out the stats of our school,” Vanstory said.

The competition requires a presentation to the targeted audience at least three times. Vanstory and Hess presented to FCS and English classes and were later asked to present to all WHS students by principal Jan Hutley.

“I think it was a timely and relevant topic for all students in the junior high and high school and the importance was definitely highlighted in the harmful, chronic effects of electronic cigarette use,” Hutley said.

Vanstory and Hess said they enjoyed this STAR Event because it was simpler and got to use their creative skills.

“I liked making the board because we got to be creative since nothing was actually required on the visual,” Hess said.

Hess and Vanstory took their project to state FCCLA this week, earning gold. They will compete at nationals in Anaheim this summer.

— Kaytlyn Meseke, @Kaytlyn_nelle

Editorial: School can address Vaping issue without punishing all students

Vaping is increasingly becoming a problem at WHS.

Its no secret that certain students abuse their privileges and freedoms during school hours, for example, vaping in bathrooms and locker rooms. We recognize the school’s reasoning and understand that vaping is an issue, and the problem at school has decreased after principal Jan Hutley outlined the consequences in class meetings.

While we agree that WHS should work to prevent vaping, we don’t agree with the way it has been handled during AB.

Most of the problems of vaping along with students not checking in with teachers has occurred during advisor base. AB is supposed to be a time to make teachers available to students for extra help. It’s also the time set aside for extra things such as club meetings, ZAP or school assemblies. In a sense, it is the student’s time to get caught up academically and participate in a number of other activities throughout the school.

With the new problems, recent restrictions on traveling to different classrooms during AB have caused an uproar in the student body. Students now have to obtain a signed pass from the teacher they wish to visit prior to AB and have it signed by their teacher. This creates difficulty because after running around the school to get a pass and talk to teachers it leaves very little time to actually work on our homework. Teachers also have little time to talk to us for help when they are continuously filling out the passes and answering phone calls from students who wish to travel to their classroom.

A better way to go about this situation would be to enforce the QR code sign-out sheet that we already have implemented. This method was only faulty because it wasn’t being enforced by certain AB teachers. If problems with students still arise during AB, a good way to handle it would simply be to take the specific person’s AB rights away, rather than the entire student body.

The editorial is the opinion of the Charger staff. Send letters to the editor to

WHS attempts to combat vaping

E-cigarettes or “vaping” has become a widespread problem across adolescents and young adults, and students at WHS are no exception.

According to CNN, teen vaping increased nearly 80 percent in the last year. This new trend also created a complication for high schools across America.

“As the administration and staff, we are being proactive as possible to prevent this problem from arising at WHS,” WHS principal Jan Hutley said. The high school has taken initiative by locking locker rooms during the day, and enforcing hall passes for students. “We don’t want to sit back and wait to catch someone.”

Although the WHS handbook doesn’t specifically mention e-cigarettes, Hutley clarified they fall under the tobacco section.

“It’s important for students to be aware of the consequences that will be given to them if they make this choice,” Hutley said. She also conducted a meeting with each of the classes in WHS to explain the school’s policies. “This will also be treated like any other offense against tobacco products, alcohol or drugs, and law enforcement will have to be contacted.”

Many students are also unaware of the health risks that come with vaping. In a survey conducted by Charger staff, 59 percent of students believed that vaping had the same or less of health risks than smoking cigarettes. Although hazards like second-hand smoke are canceled out, vaping actually creates more of a health risk for the user. This is because of the amount of nicotine and other chemicals are increased with e-cigarettes.

“Vaping is a very important health risk topic that teens and adults need to understand,” Wabaunsee Health Department administrator Janet Wertzberger said.  “Although vaping may be recommended for some adults who already smoke and are trying to quit, it is by no means a healthy habit for someone who has never smoked.”

WHS also sent an email out to students’ parents, informing them of the expectations and school policy on vaping and tobacco use at school.

“It’s important to let kids and parents know this information, and to make sure they know we do care about their safety and well-being,” Hutley said.

— Abby Oliver, @AbbyOliver27

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