Phillips Academy is a fine institution that is threatened by an issue that affects both our academic, personal and athletic lives: The fertilizer. When I arrived at school this September, I was stunned by how green the grass was and how beautiful the grounds were. Within a week, I was disillusioned and disappointed with the state of the grounds. The rain had ruined some of the grass and one morning I saw ugly green goo defiling the street. I felt so angry and betrayed that these beautiful lawns were grown with artificial fertilizer. This fertilizer sullies our campus in several ways, namely among them how it affects our academic performance. I ask, how can we perform at our best in class when our brains are being affected by the byproducts of this poison? It is akin to smoking marijuana before every day of classes, and then trying to perform at our personal best. Smoking marijuana is for concerts not for classes, guys. Come on. It cannot be done, and I think that if the fertilizer were removed from our campus before next term, then our GPA’s would increase significantly and our fine institution would quickly improve its academic clout. In addition to the fertilizer’s affect on our academic performance, it profoundly disturbs our athletic endeavors. Most teams hold practice on the school lawns and fields, which are grown using the fertilizer. While some may argue that, especially on the athletic fields, the fertilizer is necessary due to how cleats tear up the grass, I argue that money could be saved in the long run by replacing the fields with a turf field. This would not only save money in the long run, but also improve our team’s records. No one wants to lose to Exeter, and if the fertilizer is removed, I predict that we will never lose another game to our archrivals from the north. The last and maybe worst affect of the fertilizer is its affect on our social life. As I write this article and look out the library window, I see my peers out on the Sam Phil Lawn and I see kids having no fun. Based on my observations, students have up to 50% more fun on fertilizer-free fields. Despite the fact that Andover is known for its fun-loving students, we are being stifled by the poor choices of our administration. The next time spring rolls around, let’s not let the Class of 2011 down and ruin their Senior Spring by allowing the grass on our campus be artificially grown. “The grass is always greener on the other side.” The question is, at what cost do we want to make our side greener? Are we willing to sacrifice our livelihoods for outside appearance? That seems to me to go against the very creed of our school. This school was founded in the middle of the Revolutionary War, when the fledgling United States of America decided that it and its people would make their own decisions, despite what was considered smart, or right. We are once again faced with a similar decision. We can choose to be followers, allowing large companies like Monsanto to control our school, health and grades. In short, our lives. Or we can take control, seize the day and choose what is right. Real lawns are not made with fertilizer or fake grass. A real life, not controlled by anyone. That is what Andover, and America, is all about. Ella Vader is a three-year Senior from the Land Down Under.