Big Change for WestPo Soda Machines

WPHS part of school board effort to replace sugary sodas in vending machines with healthier beverages

One of the new drink machines, stocked with diet sodas, flavored waters, and juices

(Staff photo)

One of the new drink machines, stocked with diet sodas, flavored waters, and juices

After a long walk or eating some chocolate in the hallways, one needs a beverage to quench their thirst. Usually a West Potomac student would go up to the nearest vending machine to find a fizzy drink or soda. But this year, however, the Fairfax County School Board has decided that they are now banning all sugar-infused drinks from West Potomac’s soda machines. Seven out of 25 of the county’s schools have been chosen to participate in this testing for the 2013-14 academic year.

This began in September when it was decided that West Potomac would be one of the high schools that would be part of the experiment, in a group that also Chantilly, Falls Church, Langley, Marshall, Lake Braddock, and Thomas Jefferson. According to the school district’s website, “soda products are not currently available in any Fairfax County public school during the school day, except for adult purchases in teachers’ lounges.” I think this is totally unfair and to be honest,” said senior Jenny Arevalo when she found out about the experiment. “It will blow over as an experiment that failed to work.”

The vending machines have been replaced with 37 new, state-of-the-art, glass-front beverage machines. The machines now include diet sodas, diet and unsweetened teas, coconut waters, V-8 Fusion Juices, SoBe Lifewaters, Propel Zeros, and G2 Gatorades. “We’ve been receiving a positive reaction from that,” said Ted Velkoff, member-at-large of the FCPS school board

While some students think that this is bound to be a terrible experiment, senior Kanjana Pradhan states, “I’ve always liked diet anyway so it doesn’t make much of a difference to me.”

According to studies conducted by, an alarming 62 percent of students ranging from ages 12 to 17, and 41 percent of children from ages 2 to 11 drink at least one sugar-infused beverage per day. This concerns many dentists and doctors alike.

The increase of obesity rates among the student population is one of the leading reasons why FCPS has decided to conduct this experiment.

Junior Akua Agyei-Boateng agrees with  the “no soda machines” trial, saying, “There are enough snacks to deal with hunger, and then to top off the thirst, a student can purchase a refreshing drink that’s all healthy.”

 It will be a long wait to see how the results turn out, but in the meantime, students are encouraged to hydrate their bodies with sugar free beverages now accompanying the machines around West Potomac’s halls.