High School Happenings

By Joe Baxter, Smithfield High School

It is hard to believe that the school year is coming to an end. As always, testing, proms, springtime events mark the end of the year, and much needed sunny days.

Over the past month, the spring sports teams have been gearing up for playoffs: Go Sentinels! Also, on May 12, the SHS World Language Department hosted their annual Spanish and French National Honors Societies Night. The event included inducting the students into their respective honor society, reception of certificates and pins, as well as a fantastic question and answer panel comprised of students that have recently studied abroad. Inclusion to the Spanish and French Honors Society demands a high level of academic performance and membership is an honor. To all of the students who were inducted: Felicitaciones and Félicitations à vous.

As I mentioned before, the days are growing warmer and the sun is shining brighter. Spring fever is kicking in, and students all over will be spending precious time outside. One issue that is becoming increasingly problematic for young people is prolonged time in the sun. According to the Teenage Cancer Trust, up to two-thirds of teens regularly skip applying sunscreen in order to get a better tan faster. Doing this will rapidly increase the odds of developing skin cancer, according to the trust. Skin cancer is the most common skin disease that is beginning to infect more and more teens each year. Most people assume that tanning, either in a booth or outside, is harmless, especially for teenagers. This is simply not true because the sun has the same damaging effects on people of all ages.

The FDA recommends applying sunscreen according to the directions on the bottle, whenever one plans on being outside. Purposely tanning is not the only way that teens are developing dermatological problems though. Many teens will find themselves sun-burned after a sports game, a jog, or spending time outside with friends. Professionals suggest putting a bottle of sunscreen in the car or near the door as a reminder to put some on before enjoying the summer sun.

It is also important to note the dangers of artificial tanning. Tanning beds are usually safe in moderation, but doctors are quick to warn people that the UV rays in tanning beds are very strong, causing sunburns very easily. Regular use of tanning beds can also lead to premature aging, other skin diseases, and even some minor immune system problems. When it comes to tanning booths, moderation and caution is key and it never hurts to consult your doctor.

Since this is the last edition of High School Happenings during the regular 2015-2016 school year, I would like to wish all students and families in Smithfield a safe, and relaxing summer. Enjoy the outdoors, and don’t skimp on the sunscreen!