February 1, 2023

Just My Opinion - By Mary Kilen

Legislature Takes Up School Lunch
Last week I was watching the news and listening to coverage about a bill proposed that would see the state providing free lunch for students in schools. This comes after the federal program expired this year, making lunches free for all students.
With the current economic conditions I understand the idea behind the proposal. It doesn’t take long shopping at the grocery store or anywhere else to see the increased prices.
For many families, paying for school lunches might be a tipping point. I listened to Superintendent Wayne Stanley from South Prairie talk about the impacts to families and what was referred to in the piece as “lunch shaming”.
Schools never want to see a child go without lunch. Schools are also faced with the need to pay their bills for lunch program supplies and staff. Most schools have a policy about lunch fee payments and after a certain point will have to take action. For many, that means that a child might be given a different lunch, something that at least means they are getting fed but not the typical lunch.
Stanley talked about how embarrassing this can be for kids, many of whom are too young to understand what is happening. No one wants a child to be embarrassed or go without a hot meal.
This proposal would take that burden off of parents and schools by providing the funding for school lunch. There are also other options available to families right now. Schools have free and reduced meal programs that are subsidized by the federal government. That program not only helps families pay for their meals, but it also impacts other funding programs that schools receive. If you are a family that is struggling to pay for school meals, reach out to your school’s office about the program and fill out the application.
Meanwhile, like many other bills in the legislature, this is one that I will continue to follow with interest throughout the session.
It Felt Like Districts
If you were in the Stanley High School gym on Friday night for the boys’ basketball game, you know what I mean when I say it felt like districts.
The Stanley Blue Jays and Powers Lake Ranchers faced off in a District 16 matchup, one that is likely to be repeated during the postseason. Both teams came in with strong play and good records, as well as the distinction of having met up in the District and Region title games last year. Powers Lake claimed the District 16 title, while the Blue Jays claimed the Region 8 title and went to State.
We were a little late. We had been at the Commercial Club Annual Celebration, having snuck out of there early to make it to the game. Finding a parking spot was a challenge. 
It was a packed house on Friday night for what was likely one of the most anticipated games on both teams’ schedules. Fans from both communities were loud and boisterous, cheering on their teams. The game was a battle. Both teams left it out on the floor. The game was tied six different times and saw nine lead changes. Both teams also know that this game will have an impact on seeding for the District 16 tournament. Stanley might have come out on top this time, but they will need to be ready for the next matchup.
It was wonderful to see a full gym and feel that atmosphere. Dale and I, along with a lot of fans, compared it to the atmosphere you see on district championship night.
If what we saw on Friday is any indication, District 16’s tournament, which will be played starting on February 24 in Ray, should be a great time for fans and players alike.
Meanwhile, girls’ districts are just around the corner. That tournament tips off next Thursday, Feb. 9 in Stanley. The tournament bracket will be in next week’s paper.
Wrestling regionals start this weekend with the dual tournament in Velva on Saturday. Individual tournaments for the girls are Friday, Feb. 10 and are Saturday, Feb. 11 for the boys.
Like I said last week, here comes the postseason and things are heating up!