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The power of persuasion
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Students in Dani Crase’s fourth-grade class at Platteville Middle School write persuasive essays that are submitted to The Journal. 


Don’t smoke

Did you know smoking can kill you? I think smoking should be illegal for several reasons. 

My first reason is because smoking causes death. The first example is: More than 10 times as many U.S. citizens have died from smoking. My second example is that cigarettes contains nicotine. This is in cigarettes, which causes all types of cancer.

My second reason is because smoking will harm you. For example, cigarette smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, causes many diseases, and reduces the health of smokers in general.

The third reason is: Cigarette smoke poses a great threat to health of others, including hydrogen cyanide, nitrogen oxides, and especially carbon monoxide, which is a poisonous gas. 

Do not ever, ever smoke in your life.

Amir Johnson


Do you want to get cancer and probably die? I believe that smoking should be illegal for three reasons. First of all, cigarettes cause bad health. You usually get your lungs clogged from smoking, which makes you cough. Your heart can get bad and it can kill you and your baby if you are pregnant. 

My second reason is because there are some chemicals in one cigarette. First they have nicotine, which is a drug. Next is tar, which is used for paving roads. Last they have lead, which is used in batteries.

My last reason is the cost of cigarettes. First, they are too cheap so raise the price to $30 for 1 cigarette so that nobody will buy any cigarettes. Next, you should arrest anybody who owns cigarettes. Lastly, don’t convince people to smoke because they might smoke.

I hope I convinced you to stop smoking or what to do with smokers. Don’t get played while the cigarette companies get paid.

Brendan Millard 


Do you know smoking kills 42,000 people every year? I believe we should make smoking illegal for several reasons. 

The first reason I think smoking should be illegal is because smoking gives at least 25 different types of cancer, which will kill you:

• Lung Cancer: Lung cancer is the most famous (in a bad way) cancer that is caused by smoking. 

• Cancers of the mouth and throat: Cigarettes are huge risks for cancers associated with the larynx oral cavity and esophagus. 

• Oral cancer: Oral cancer kills roughly 1 person each hour 24/7.

Another reason smoking should be illegal is because kids die when exposed to smoking. Smoking kills at least 900 infants per year. Secondhand smoking kills 46,000 nonsmokers every year. Many families die when someone drops a cigar and the cigar fire burns the house down. 

The last reason why I think smoking should be illegal is because many homes burned down from cigars. Per year, 38 families are killed when an adult accidentally drops a lighted cigarette in their homes. Nearly 1,000 smokers and nonsmokers are killed each year from cigarette caused fires. Lots of people die from fires that are caused by cigarettes.

Finally, smoking should be illegal because when you smoke anywhere, you can kill tons of bystanders. I hope you agree with me and tons of other people! 

Ankica Montgomery


Have you ever wondered why smoking is bad for you? Well, now you will know. 

The first reason why smoking is bad is that it is very bad for your health. Here are my three examples. There are more than 7,000 chemicals in cigarettes! More than 1 million people die a year from smoking! You are smoking rat poison!

My second reason is that they cost too much money. Here are my three examples. The total cost society spends is $2.9 billion! Most tobacco companies make more than $32 billion a year! Each box costs about $8 alone!

My third reason is that they have a bunch of bad ingredients in them. Here are my three examples. They have more than 15 ingredients in them! They are all really gross — acetone (in nail polish remover), acetic acid (in hair dye), ammonia (in house cleaner), arsenic (in rat poison), benzene (in rubber cement), butane (in lighter fluid), cadmium (in battery acid), carbon monoxide (comes out of exhaust pipes for cars), formaldehyde (a kind of fluid), hexamine (in barbecue lighter fluid), lead (inside batteries), naphthalene (found in mothballs), methanol (in rocket fuel), nicotine (is used as insecticide), tar (used for paving roads), and toluene (used to manufacture paint), according to the American Lung Association.

Smoking is bad for you! There are many bad chemicals in cigarettes, they cost a lot of money, and they are bad for your health. Over 450,000 die per year in the U.S. alone! Now this is just a suggestion: please stop smoking today for the sake of you, your kids, and the world. And remember, only you can stop smoking. Jayden Schultz


Do you realize that smoking is really bad for your health?

I believe smoking should become illegal for three reasons.

My first reason is you should realize that smoking is bad for you in these ways. Smoking is responsible for cancer, heart disease, and premature death. Over 480,000 people in the U.S. and 100,000 in the UK die because of smoking year! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, $92 billion are lost each year from lost productivity resulting in smoking-related deaths.

My second reason is smoking is a waste of money on your health in these ways. In 2014, a packet of cigarettes costs around $18.70. That means if you smoke a pack per day, you will spend more than $5,000 a year on cigarettes! Don’t you think that’s a waste of money? Think of all the other things you could be spending your money on. Think of all the other things besides cigarettes and tobacco. Think of the foods that are healthy for you. When you buy cigarettes, you’re basically wasting money, and it makes your health very poor.

My third reason is smoking is bad for the people around you in these ways. The main way smoking is bad for the people around you is called secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke is the combination of smoke that comes from your cigarette and smoke you breathe out while smoking, and breathing in any amount of secondhand smoke is dangerous. The best way to stop secondhand smoke is to quit smoking.

Do you realize how smoking is bad for your precious health? The smoker may not care, but I do, because smoking can lead to a bunch of different kinds of cancer. Please, stop smoking. Now, do you accept this information to encourage you to stop smoking? Please, do.

Micah Wiederholt 


Vending machines

I wonder why we don’t have vending machines. I think we should for several reasons. 

My first reason we need vending machines is that kids have brain power to learn. What would a kid do if he forgot his lunch? A lot of kids get bad grades. I think that is because they have an empty stomach. Did you know 74 percent of middle schools in the United States have vending machines?

My second reason we need vending machines is I know teachers eat food and drinks from the teacher’s lounge. Just because we’re smaller doesn’t mean we can’t have anything. We could put healthy food in it like string cheese and milk. Flavored water would be perfect. It has just 5 calories and no fat.

My final reason we need vending machines is kids get really hungry before lunch because it’s almost five hours between breakfast and lunch. We should get a little snack to munch on. We could stop and get a snack to give us a boost for the entire day.

I think we should have vending machines at PMS so kids get more nutrition instead of a bunch of junk.

Riley Donahoe


Do you realize that students eat too much junk food and get hungry all day? If we put a vending machine in the building students will not be that hungry. I think the middle school needs a vending machine for several reasons. 

My first reason students at Platteville Middle School need a vending machine is because students need more energy during the day. If we get a vending machine students would not be super hungry. We should get a vending machine so students will think better in class, run faster in gym and listen better in class.

My second reason is we students need a vending machine is because kids eat too much sugar. So we should put healthy food in the vending machine! Some food we should put in the vending machine are rice cakes, fruit juice, fruit cups, applesauce, granola bars, nuts and plain trail mix.

My third reason is that we students get tired all day long. Food fuels us and animals. We students and teachers run on food like cars run on gas. They are necessary for the cell and tissue growth that keeps our muscles strong and our hearts pumping. 

According to Amazon, a vending machine would cost $1,300, but we would earn it back very quickly. And that is why I think we should get a vending machine. Ryan Dye


School starts

Did you know it is unhealthy for kids to get less than eight hours of sleep at night? I think Platteville Middle School should start later than 8:30 a.m. for several reasons. 

My first reason why school should start later is because if kids don’t get enough sleep at night it could cause a sleeping disorder. I researched and found that some schools start at 9 a.m. instead of 8:10 a.m. and schools have found that children have more energy and do better in school.

My second reason is children more sleep so school should start later. If school would start later then kids would get good grades and it helps them learn. According to the article “Sleep affects how your child thinks, feels and functions and impacts academic performances” students with C’s, D’s and F’s get 20 fewer minutes of sleep than students with A’s and B’s.

My third reason is it is unhealthy for kids to even miss 30 minutes of sleep. The recommended hours of sleep are eight hours, and the not recommended hours of sleep is less than 8 hours and more than 12 hours.

I think that school should start later so kids can get more sleep so they can get good grades and be healthy. 

Natalee Gallagher


Do you realize that kids do not get enough sleep every night? I believe that school should start later in the morning for three reasons. 

My first reason is school should be started later is because it is better for students’ health. My first example is according to American Academy of Pediatrics Research, starting time for middle school and high school is 8:30 a.m. in the U.S. Research shows adolescents are better off rising earlier than falling asleep earlier. My first example is our Platteville Middle School needs to start later in the morning because in states in which at least 75 percent of the schools start at 8:30 a.m., the early classes make it difficult for students to sleep the optimal 8½ to 9½ hours per night in Minnesota high schools that started at 8:30 a.m., according to a 2014 study from the University of Minnesota. 

Another reason is we need to start later because students sometimes skip school because they are sleepy. According to a study of four nationally representative and successive samples of American high school students from 2007 to 2013, they were more successful in school. The National Sleep Foundation “Poll” found 59 percent of sixth- through eighth-graders and 87 percent of U.S. high school students were getting less than the recommended 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep on school nights. Most adolescents (ages 12–25) need 8.5 to 9.25 hours of sleep per night. We don›t even get enough time to get ready and eat breakfast.

My third reason is we need to be able to eat in the morning and not skip breakfast in the morning. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it provides us with energy and nutrients that lead to increased concentration in class. Studies show that breakfast can be important in maintaining a healthy body weight. Hunger sets long before it›s lunchtime, but because it›s not convenient to eat properly many people who have not eaten snack foods that are high in fat and sugar. Our Platteville Middle School should start at 8:30 a.m. because kids need more sleep then kids would be more healthy and kids would have a better grade and be able to concentrate better in class.

Caley Holl


Why do you feel tired at school? Maybe you don’t get enough sleep. I believe we should start school later for several reasons. 

The first reason is students may skip breakfast because they sleep late. If kids are rushing in the morning because they›re tired, they might miss the most important meal of the day. According to “Kids and teens who eat breakfast have more energy, do better in school, and eat healthier through the day.’’ Starting school later will help kids. Kids may skip breakfast if they have to rush off to school.

The second reason is if kids wake up too early they have a hard time concentrating at school. If they aren’t concentrating, then they won’t remember what the their teacher taught them. They could get bad grades. Then they could feel bad about themselves. They might not care about school. Sleeping later will help us concentrate and do better at school

My third reason is it is important for kids to get more sleep. Because when they get enough sleep they will grow and stay healthy. Their brains are processing what they learned from the day. This is important for the brain to grow and become better students. According to, children age 7 to 12 need 10 to 11 hours of sleep each day. Kids 12 to 18 years of age need at least 9 hours of sleep.

Starting school later will let the students get more sleep and it will let them learn better. Kids will finish assignments when they are supposed to be done. This is why school should start later. Courtney Tyson


Four-day week

Do you want to save money? I believe middle-schoolers should get four days of school each week for several reasons.

My first reason is people and the schools could save money. School buses would not have to run on Friday so that would save gas. Heat and air conditioning would not run on Friday either. If parents drive their child to school they would not have to do that on Friday.

My second reason that we need to have a four-day week of school is kids would get more rest between weeks. When we have school on Friday we have only two days to rest (Saturday and Sunday). Teachers sometimes get mad when students fall asleep in class. Some teachers give kids homework to do over the weekend and you could have one day to do homework and two days to rest. 

My third reason that we should have four days of school is kids would get more family time. The kids that have parents who are teachers might be off too so we can spend time with them. If the parents have people who watch the child while they are at work they won›t have to watch them on Friday because the parents won›t have to work. Maybe if people could get the whole country to do this that would be a lot of family time. 

Some schools in Minnesota, Iowa, Ohio and Texas have four days of school each week. According to some places people saw that it reduced discipline referral frequency. 

Emma Brunton


A PMS mascot

I believe that Platteville Middle School should have a mascot for several reasons. Do you want to help the first high school (which Platteville Middle School used to be) or not?

The first reason I think we need a school mascot is because we are trying to start a new behavior plan called PBIS. Having our own school name, colors, mascot, etc., would be good motivation, such as prizes for students who are best behaved would get a T-shirt with the mascot on it 

The second reason is having a middle school mascot would improve school pride. It is not just wearing your school’s colors, but supporting your school. PMS could have more activities and school funds would be raised. And pride maintains our school. It keeps it running. Students need it because it could help to get to know our PMS.

My third reason is we could compete with other schools and we could go against bigger teams. And we could win trophies the last time we won was, like, what, 1999? We could go into championship games, and get titles and a better reputation. Also we need our own colors and identity; all schools have same colors but different names. We need a mascot because pride would put Platteville on a new era. If we don’t we’ll always be a shadow of the high school. 

Bracyn Berntgen