Leave it outside: HHS’s growing garbage problem

Parking lot becomes another dumping ground for waste


M. Balmes

Garbage found near Door 4 by the parking lot leaves a mark on the whole school.

By Molly Balmes

The final bell rings as the stampede begins to the buses and student parking lot. I wade upstream to get to the cafeteria, opting to wait at the school for the chaos to settle before leaving for home. After a half-hour of homework and a snack, I’m finally ready to leave. I make the trek out to the parking lot and see exactly what I expected.

The lot is a ghost town with cars scattered like marbles in the massive space. My eyes are immediately drawn to the tumbleweeds of this wild west: the garbage. 

A paper McDonald’s bag gently rolls down the pavement, propelled by the light breeze. A half-empty Starbucks cup sits abandoned on the curb. Gum is everywhere, blackened by both age and fresh wads from minutes ago. 

Huntley High School clearly has a problem with cleanliness in the cafeteria; no one can deny it. But, when did the problem start affecting the parking lot? I find myself pondering this question as I watch the birds picking at the trash with their beaks. 

The trash trend has picked up since the beginning of the year, and it seems that the problem is at its peak now when students are lax in their motivations and care. 

“Everywhere I walk there’s a fast-food bag or a drink cup. I can’t go anywhere without worrying what I’ll step on,” junior Alyssa Riedel said.

It is our responsibility as Red Raiders and students to clean up our acts and our school and that includes the parking lot. 

Driving to school and parking passes are a privilege, not a right, and we need to treat it like one. 

“Parking passes give kids a sense of independence and time management skills, but they need to realize they can be taken away anytime,” senior Katie Walz said.

Students at HHS need to step up and be respectful of the spaces they are in whether that be a classroom, a cafeteria, or even a parking lot.

“It’s the kid’s responsibility to pick up their trash. Nobody else,” junior Norah Garrity said.

Raiders, let’s be the best students we can be. Even though garbage may seem insignificant, change starts in the smallest places. It is our responsibility, so let us act like it.