The student news site of Oviedo High School in Oviedo, FL

Oviedo Journalism

The student news site of Oviedo High School in Oviedo, FL

Oviedo Journalism

The student news site of Oviedo High School in Oviedo, FL

Oviedo Journalism

Breaking up Valentine Grams

Candy grams are no longer allowed to be sold to high schoolers in Florida
Cooper Garvey
After the re-evaluation of the “smart snack regulation,” candy grams can no longer be sold to high school students. This act left many students upset.

At Oviedo High School, students are accustomed to the sweet sugary treat of candy, whether gifted to themselves, by a friend, or by a lover on Valentine’s Day. Teachers tease students about receiving gifts, especially when chorus members stop by to sing them a love song. Although students can still gift and receive chocolate, they can no longer expect to buy them in the Commons. The chorus performances will hopefully remain consistent with previous years.

Valentine Candy Grams were always an easy and simple way for students to share their love. However, according to the Orlando Sentinel, candy is not allowed to be sold on school grounds, even for most fundraising purposes, due to the reexamining of a pre-existing “smart snack regulation” last year. There was concern for student health with the amount of sugar consumed, abandoning the idea of BETA-oriented candy grams.

A sophomore BETA student, Zachary Griffin, noted how the Candy Grams were looked forward to by students and will be viewed as a tragic loss.

“Most students like the little Candy Grams. And sometimes you could do them anonymously, so we thought it was a nice little thing all of the BETA team did, so it’s kind of bad that we can’t do give out candy,” Griffin said.

The BETA team may have something in store this year, but it is too early in the Valentine season to tell. 

“As of now, we don’t have anything planned, but we’ll probably get something in the works,” Griffin said.

However, there is an alternative way to support Oviedo High School and your loved ones during Valentine’s Day this year, with only three to four dollars.

“There’s not the option for just a bag of candy. So I guess maybe more people will buy Singing Valentines, and that’s a good thing to think about, but who knows?” Morgan Watts, choir teacher, said.

Singing Grams are a famed Chorus tradition, involving groups of Chorus students who would visit classrooms and sing songs the team had decided on. That is how it has been for years. After the passing of beloved Bill Schult, a new chorus teacher has been introduced this year, Morgan Watts. 

Gabriel Gonzalez, junior, explained how the program ran the past few years. 

“Schult was a very active teacher, but he let the students run the program and make it what we wanted to make it, so people who weren’t as motivated to work would fall off, and the people who wanted to get what had to be done took the lead. And really, the kids moved the program and that was the most important thing.”

“So this year, I’m not going to change anything. Next year, if I do this whole process and realize, ‘oh, this thing could be changed,’ then I will. But for now, it’s going to stay the same,” Watts said.

Brittney Johns, sophomore, also pointed out Watts will take some time to grow accustomed to her role, but like with every teacher and evolving program, variation is guaranteed.

“This is her first year teaching. She just graduated college, so she’s still getting used to all the other stuff,” Johns said.

Gabriel Gonzalez noted how, although Morgan Watts has been approaching the subject differently, it has been driving Oviedo High School’s Chorus in the right direction.

“Watts does a really good job at giving each section their own kind of leaders or having a section to do with whatever they do with the leader, so she kind of taps into it, but I don’t know how it’ll compare. It will definitely be a lot more busy,” Gonzalez said.

With the anticipation of a new teacher, that brings a different expectation to the program. It will take time for Morgan Watts to connect with her students and achieve that same bond that her predecessor had with the Choir students.

“A lot of teachers come into their position with their own mindset, and I think Watts did a really good job at being inclusive of everybody and understanding that we had a previous teacher, and it’s not a new program with the new teacher and students. Some kids are definitely still mourning the loss of said teacher [Schult], so it was definitely difficult for her.”

The Chorus students will continue to keep Singing Grams alive, as Watts has noted its incredible significance to the student body.

“I definitely did a lot of checking to make sure that this is something that was still wanted by the students and by the school, and I have had a resounding ‘yes, we love this.’ And so it seems like it’s a really beloved tradition. And so there is a little bit of pressure taking that on and making sure that it still runs smoothly and it’s something that people continue to love,” Watts said.

Brittney Johns agrees with their teacher, thinking Singing Grams should continue to flourish, as they are an essential part of the Valentine’s Day experience at OHS.

“It can introduce kids to the thought of, ‘hey, it’s more than just standing up on stage and singing.’ We do a whole bunch of fun, other things as well. And it’s a community of people, not just another class. It’s a whole community of family and friends,” Johns said.

Additionally, Watts believes Singing Valentines bring back the nostalgic memories of grade school. She noted that high school does not always allow those types of moments, and the Grams are one way to celebrate the holiday.

“I think it makes it a really fun special day. Normally in elementary school, you know valentines were a huge part of things, but in high school it kind of goes away to just as a regular day at school. I think adding a little bit of chaos and a little bit of excitement to the day is really fun.”

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  • J

    JohnnyMay 20, 2024 at 8:03 AM

    I liked how the story highlights the tradition of Valentine Candy Grams at Oviedo, and talks about the changes due to new rules. “At Oviedo High School, students are accustomed to the sweet sugary treet of candy…on Valentine’s Day”. This makes the story both informative and nostalgic for those who were a part of the old Candy Grams. The way it includes both students and teacher perspectives adds sophistication and makes the whole tradition seem fun and well received among everyone. “Teachers tease students about receiving gifts”

  • M

    MiaMay 8, 2024 at 4:33 PM

    This was a nice and informative article in my opinion. I’m glad they explained why candy isn’t allowed on school grounds even though a lot of people enjoyed these Valentine grams. I’m glad they kept the singing grams for students to at least show love towards friends in one way. Overall this was a great article.

  • E

    EmilyMay 1, 2024 at 8:44 AM

    I really liked how this was written. It really showcased many points of view with having students and Mrs. Watts put in their input. I think the singing grams are definitely a great alternative but I’m sure if candy grams were reintroduced they’d be just as popular again. This year was really cool with all the singing grams and Mrs. Watts did a great job with the program.

  • A

    Aria MApr 1, 2024 at 9:04 AM

    I really liked the way that this article was written. I loved the way that we got an insight on the students view on the decision that was made, since it directly affected us. I think that it’s stupid that this is a law now and that they should definitely be rethinking it, especially seeing how people (students themselves) actually feel about it.

  • L

    Luke SedaMar 25, 2024 at 5:48 PM

    I can’t imagine how sad the students are about the loss of candy grams. Honestly, it doesn’t seem fair to remove candy grams from the school since the whole thing was abut student health and not every student had an issue with their health. If a student is unhealthy, then it’s the parent’s responsibility to cut them down on their sugar intake. They should just sell sugar-free candy instead.

  • H

    Hannah AglioMar 8, 2024 at 10:33 AM

    I had heard this topic around school near Valentine’s Day. It seemed the options were limited to give to others. I loved how well-written this was. I like that there was an interview of many students and the new chorus teacher. I think it was important to talk about why the singing grams tradition is so important to so many people and that by keeping them it continues to bring the community together. A lot of my teachers who graduated from OHS and now work here mentioned how special it was that they have kept the tradition going.

  • D

    DaniMar 8, 2024 at 8:32 AM

    I’m so glad that they kept the singing grams! As a freshman it was a fun thing to see in my first year here as a student, little fun activities like this can get a student to enjoy their time at high school and to have more of a connection with fellow students.