Changes for the new year

With each return to school comes a fascinating array of fresh sights and changes. While there isn’t anything as drastic as a new cafeteria, there are several changes students can expect around Ames High. • Hard to miss is the new announcement screen placed between the two practice fields along Ridgewood road. Although it appears to be a scoreboard for athletics, Principal Mike McGrory said it will be used for much more, “It was really important to us when we were doing it that it wasn’t just an athletic recognition but also academic.” The screen was built with money raised by the academic and athletic booster clubs. The clubs’ goal is to promote school recognition of specific groups. For example, “We’ll put up the 17 national merit semifinalist names on the screen or if mock trial goes to state or if knowledge bowl is successful they will have a place to be recognized,” McGrory said. • Around winter time there may be something different at Ames High. Perhaps a snow day, maybe even two? This is the first year for Dr. Linda Beyea as she takes over the superintendent position of the Ames Community School District. A change observable on a more day-to-day basis, however, is Christopher Paulson, the new Associate Principal. • After years of promises from hopeful student council presidents, there are finally urinal dividers in (some of) the men’s restrooms. Interestingly, they solve one problem but create another. Do these dividers make it socially acceptable to utilize the center urinal when the outside ones are occupied? In these early days precedents will be set that will last for years to come. • Anyone who has been to the cafeteria (or to the assembly on the first day of school) has noticed that there is a new health and wellness policy. No pop during lunch. Bake sales and fundraisers are required to have a certain percentage of healthy options. Mr. McGrory said Ames High isn’t alone in these changes, “It’s a nationwide change. Basically schools over the last year looked at their policies and conformed to the federal guidelines.” Are these kinds of guidelines the first step in reducing America’s growing rate of obesity? Only time will tell but for now Mr. McGrory is optimistic, “It’s actually gone very well. Many students are choosing healthy options and we hope they continue to respond to this change.” • Lastly, parent teacher conferences will be held this year for all of those that wish to come. Every teacher will have slots available in November for parents to reserve.