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The Sweet Side of Social Studies

Over the summer, teacher Heather Panahi purchased hundreds of butterscotch candies from Target which are now in a basket on her desk and free to all who visit.

“The candy…was a spontaneous decision” says Panahi when asked what inspired her to buy them.

Panahi says she was wandering through the grocery aisles of her local Target when she thought, “maybe I’ll put a candy dish out.”

Panahi’s voice becomes a little wistful as she explains, “Butterscotch candies were the candy that my grandmother used to have all over the house.”

Smiling all the while, Panahi elaborates, “They’re my comfort candy when I’m feeling stressed or anything…and I want them to be that for you girls too.”

While visiting Panahi’s classroom, I noticed that the Butterscotch basket was nearly half empty and asked how frequently it had to be refilled. Panahi responded, “I’ve had to refill it once since school started.” Calculating on her fingers as she speaks, Panahi determined that her stash “seems to last exactly two weeks.”

“I do have a lot of repeat visitors” says Panahi laughing. “Some girls like to go straight for the candy when they get here and others, it takes a few times before they decide they want some.”

One such visitor who goes straight for the candy is Sophomore Jainah Etheart. “Butterscotch just makes my day better” exclaims a beaming Jainah, “It’s just a candy, but it feels like more than that. It feels heartwarming and sort of cozy”.

Filled with enthusiasm for the small treats, Jainah continues “Anything butterscotch makes me feel taken care of. It’s like my Grandma is giving them to me or something. They are all so small, but so sweet!”

When asked if she thought Panahi should continue her effort to keep the butterscotch basket full, Jainah’s answer was an immediate and emphatic “definitely!” As Jainah put it, “Butterscotch always brightens someone’s day. Personally, I know that, whenever I need a pick-me-up or have to fill my sugar void, the butterscotch will be there and be a total lifesaver.”

While some visitors like Jainah adore the sweet treats, others, such as Sophomore Molly Han, are much less enthusiastic about it. When asked how many times she had taken butterscotch from the basket, a giggling Molly exclaimed, “Once and I spit it out right after I had it.”

Describing herself as “more of a chocolate person than a hard candy person,” Molly wishes there were more diversity in the candy basket.

By Target’s online store, the butterscotch candies are described as “The perfect afternoon treat” and are meant to be an easy pick-me-up during a long morning.

According to their packaging, Target’s butterscotch also “do not contain any of the 8 major allergens” and therefore can safely be eaten by students, regardless of their dietary restrictions.

“I love the butterscotch” says a cheerful Jainah Etheart. “I’m made from sugar and…a sugarless day is an empty one.”