What are GMOs and how do they affect us?

By: Haroon Yonis

GMO is an acronym for “genetically modified organisms”, a term exclusively meant for foods that have been modified in some way, shape, or form genetically. GMOs were first introduced to the public in 1994, when a tomato was genetically modified so that it would become ripe quicker than its natural counterpart. Seeing this as a cost efficient way to “save” foods and crops, and as a result increase their profits, many companies began using GMOs.

Today, GMOs are used in practically every packaged food, whether it be cereal, fruits, or vegetables, GMOs are now so widespread that it is almost impossible to avoid the term on your favorite food/drink.

The main purpose of GMOs is that it makes it easier to deal with pesky things that would usually destroy an individual’s crops, such as the environment, insects/animals, and much more. You can liken GMOs to pesticides or herbicides, except much more effective on a larger scale. It is undeniable that GMOs have widened the farming industry and completely changed the way many grow their crops. 

But what do GMOs mean for the consumer, the individual actually consuming this product?

There is  an abundance of health related issues typically associated with GMOs, and this shouldn’t be surprising considering you’re modifying the crop from its original, natural state. Firstly, a chemical that is commonly found in GMOs, “glycophosphate ”, has been linked to a plethora of cancers, like prostrate, and other diseases. 

But, we must realize that GMOs are a relatively new thing in the food industry, and as the FDA continues to improve health regulations surrounding it, hopefully the chemicals used in these GMOs will no longer be harmful to the human body. Even WebMD states that the American Medical Association has stated that there have been no reports of GMOs negatively affecting the body.

Ultimately, it’s your choice whether or not you decide to consume GMOs, and as we continue to discover more about GMOs , keep in mind that even cigarettes were considered healthy at one point.

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A Day in the Life of HPDT

Highland Park Dance Team (HPDT) member Zenobia Aferworki (11th Grade) posted a mini-documentary style video to her YouTube channel, following the team on one of their competition days. Check out her video to see what a competition day is like in the competitive dance world.

You can follow HPDT on Twitter at: @HPDanceTeam 

Student Council (STUCO) – Winter Pepfest

On Friday, winter pepfest was held in the Highland varsity gym during 7th hour. Pepfest is an event sponsored by Student Council (HPSTUCO). It was originally scheduled for Friday February 28th, but due to school being cancelled because of the snow, it had to be rescheduled to Friday. After a week of waiting, school spirit was high. Final preparation by the HPSTUCO Pepfest Committee was complete, and the event finally arrived.

On pepfest days at Highland, there’s a tradition of having “Class Color Day”, where you wear your class shirt to school. Freshman = yellow, Sophomores  = green,  Juniors = blue, and Seniors = red.

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Pepfest is a time to celebrate school spirit and the achievements of Highland staff, students, alumni, and community members. The agenda on Friday included updates from the captains of Highland’s winter sports teams, a captains planking contest, announcements from Dr. Tucker and Ms. Morton, and performances from the girls and boys basketball teams, the gymnastics team, and the dance team. The atmosphere in the gym was overwhelmingly positive and supportive, a great reminder of the rare privilege it is to have the whole school come together for a celebration. Special thanks to the HPSTUCO Pepfest Committee and to Ms. Rohweller and Ms. Hedwall for all your hard work in putting the event together!

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You can follow the HP Dance Team on Twitter at: @HPDanceTeam