It’s gotten better but...

212 students continue going “the extra degree”

Working on the weekend
Coming EHS

Classrooms can air on the side of mundane and stuffy. This is unfortunate for students who spend six hours a day in windowless rooms.

Enter outdoor classrooms. Thanks to Project Earth, one of the school’s many YSY groups, EHS will soon be home to at least one, possibly two.

The outdoor classrooms are another stage of the already in-progress CVEP. The official project description states, “The goal of the CVEP is to restore the land around the campus to native states for student learning, scientific investigation, and community enjoyment.”

Project Earth has taken on the outdoor classroom phase of the Creek Valley Environmental Project (CVEP), led by Rachel Pream- Grenier and Eric Burfeind. Once built, the classrooms will be available to EHS and other Edina schools. The larger classroom will be a formal structure, similar to an amphitheater, and will seat around 60 students. Project Earth hopes the classroom can double as a community meeting area for student groups, concerts and other activities. Senior Molly Forbes compared it to the Centennial Lakes venue.

The second classroom will be in a forested area and far less structured. This smaller classroom will likely have 3-4 rows of seating.

Senior Jake B. said, “The design and materials will be environmentally friendly and blend naturally into the environment. This is to keep in line the ideals of Project Earth.” Previous stages of CVEP have included wetland observation, restoring the prairie area, and trail construction. A range of groups has contributed to these efforts, including SALT, Project Earth, Volunteers of America and Eagle Scouts. Impressively, no school district funding has been used for any of this work. The outdoor classrooms will be no different.

Project Earth has received enough money to build the smaller structure. Five thousand dollars was obtained through an Edina Ed Fund Grant and $1,000 from the Parent Council. Seven seniors will be building the classroom for their May Term project, assuming their project is approved.

Project Earth is still seeking funding for the large structure. Molly F said, “We will need about $65,000, and we have about half of that from various donors.”

Project Earth plans on holding a Noodles night in April, with a percent of the profits going to the club.

In addition, Project Earth has applied for a $5,000 Lowes Outdoor classroom grant and a grant from the Edina Rotary Club. Senior Curt L. estimates that the large structure may be done by next summer. Soon enough, the school will be blessed with a break from the windowless rooms, all while contributing positively to the community and the environment.

Summer science programs offer two different experiences for students
Prescription drug abuse

Katie T.
photo/art editor

The January 22 death of actor, Heath Ledger, 28, sent shock waves across America. An autopsy revealed an accidental overdose of prescription medication to be the cause of death. While the loss is tragic and untimely, many are hoping his story will caution others about the ever increasing trend of abusing prescription pills.

Teenagers are no exception to the trend. In fact, they are a major part of it. According to the Associated Press, drug abuse experts are becoming increasingly alarmed by the rise in prescription drug abuse amongst America’s youth. The 2005 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found prescription drugs to be the second most commonly abused drug with 6.4 million reported users (after marijuana’s 14.6 million).

The availability of prescription medications is an issue. Sixty percent of users obtain the drugs from friends or family, according to the 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Others simply order drugs over the internet.

In response to the upsurge, the White House is planning a national advertising campaign to urge parents to keep a closer watch on their medicine cabinets, suggesting locks as proper measure.

Drug abuse experts find most startling the misconceptions surrounding prescription medications. Many teenagers believe that they aren’t as dangerous as “street drugs” like cocaine and heroine. However, accidental overdoses from medications are on the rise, and Heath Ledger is a prime example.

They are exponentially more dangerous when mixed with alcohol or other drugs, which they most often are. Ledger died from a lethal combination of OxyContin, Valium, Xanax, and Restoril.

Experts note that networking sites like Facebook provide a source for teens to trade tips about the effects of these drugs and even trade the drugs they have.

It is important for teenagers to be aware of the dangers of these drugs. Ledger is a famous face amongst a rising number of people (especially teenagers) who have fallen victim to prescription medication abuse. Hopefully his example, and efforts by drug abuse agencies and the Federal government will improve the worsening problem.