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STEM Academy Student Published in CCTimes

Who’s Worth More? – Guest Essay in Cape Cod Times

Editor’s Note: Tuesday was Veterans Day. To help honor our veterans, we are publishing the following essay, which was written by Sandwich 7th grader Maggie Mahoney. Maggie attends the Sandwich STEM Academy. She submitted the essay as part of a school assignment in Maria Cahill’s “News to Me” class. The students were asked to present an argument on a topic of their choosing. Maggie is the daughter Thomas and Michelle Mahoney of Harper’s Hollow in East Sandwich.


Would you risk your life to make an average of $35,000 a year, or would you want to be playing the sport you love and making $3 million a year?

There are soldiers out there risking their lives for our freedom, and barely making ends meet. Then there are professional athletes out there having the time of their lives doing what they love while making millions. I don’t think that is a fair deal.

I can see where you would say I don’t agree. Professional athletes put in a lot of hard work and dedication. They put in a lot of hours for practice time, they could risk getting hurt. Professional athletes are also making money for the companies that sponsor them such as Gatorade or Nike. When you think about it, these professional athletes are getting paid a lot of money just because they are good at a sport. They are getting idolized by the media and fans and getting to play the sport they love. Soldiers on the other hand are getting paid a very low amount of money. I don’t think that is a very fair deal.

The soldiers are getting paid significantly less than someone who is shooting a basketball. Professional athletes are getting paid more because what they do is considered entertainment and is making money for the teams they play for. The soldiers aren’t doing this for entertainment, they are doing this for our freedom. This is a very lopsided situation, I think the payments should be the other way around.

There are so many sacrifices that soldiers have to make for themselves and their families. Just think how long soldiers are away from their families. Sometimes they could be gone for years at a time. Then there are some who come home to their children not even recognizing them, because they have been gone for so long. Families are waiting in suspense the whole time the soldiers are gone, making sure they come home alive. Some soldiers don’t come home at all, leaving their families all alone.

Professional athletes are getting paid millions of dollars a year for doing what they love. Professional athletes wake up every morning wondering if they are going to win the next game, but soldiers are waking up every morning wondering if they will make it out alive. A mistake made by a professional athlete will cause a few bad reports, but can be made up by a good play. A mistake made by a soldier could cost a few lives. You can’t make that up with a good play.

I think that we should establish a law that the minimum wage for a soldier is $70,000.

Honestly I don’t even think that is enough for what they do for us. People don’t realize how much they do for us. What do professional athletes do for us besides provide entertainment? Entertainment is a want not a need. Soldiers are “needs” not “wants.” This needs to change and that all starts with us.

Our nation is united as one. We have to do what’s right and paying soldiers more money is the right thing to do. Next time you sit down to watch sports, just think back to this article and how unfair the soldiers have it. Think of how much pain the families are going through. Think to yourself, who’s worth more?—guest-essay/article_b2168e04-6a8b-11e4-a99d-d332ec1cef7c.html?_dc=471070231404.1555

Thoughts from Maria Cahill, Maggie’s teacher at the STEM Academy

My course is called “News to Me” and is offered as an elective for both 7th and 8th grade students in the Sandwich STEM Academy. It is a class I was given the opportunity to create over the summer, so it is brand new! I tried to create it to be a blend of a basic introduction to journalism course and a current events class. I teach two sections this semester (one blue day and one white day), and will do the same next semester. Each class has 23 students, so by the end of the school year I will have had about 90 students take the elective. Being a high school teacher, as well as a first year teacher, I have been pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoy teaching in the STEM Academy. The students in News to Me have such an incredible enthusiasm for their work, and I couldn’t be prouder of Maggie for carrying her passion over into a real newspaper publication.

You can read Maria’s introduction to the school community here.