Mechanical pencils are the new #2

A mechanical pencil, put to work at Greeley West High School this past week.

Tanian Schuttler

A mechanical pencil, put to work at Greeley West High School this past week.

Tanian Schuttler, Staff Writer

Students’ hands tightly grip a mechanical pencil as they take notes in class. No longer does the #2 pencil grace a page with note-taking unless state testing has forced it into our hands. A new era has begun: the mechanical pencil era. 

With the mechanical pencil being the new number 1, the #2 pencil is now, truly, number 2. 

What does this mean in the building? The #2 Ticonderoga pencil used to be the popular one everyone wanted to use but, after a dazzling makeover, the mechanical pencil hit the scene and it’s all everyone can talk about. 

Why use mechanical pencils over a simple #2? Junior Yesenia Dylan said, “I fidget a lot and it’s easy to fidget with and pump my finger on the end. Also, when you ask someone for a pencil that’s normally the first thing they give to you,” said Dylan. 

Even teachers seem to be in favor of shunning the #2 and embracing the cool new pencil in school. Math teacher Brandon Torrez said, “I’m a man of precision and, with a mechanical pencil, it’s easier to be precise with my 0.05mm lead – to be exact.”

Torrez said there is an environmental benefit as well.  “The mechanical pencil should be the new #2 pencil because we’re running out of wood with this crisis of overusing natural materials,” said Torrez.  

Not all agree. “I’m not so sure Mr. Torrez knows what he’s talking about.  Wood is probably more biodegradable than the plastic in those mechanical pencils,” traditionalist history teacher Ms. Lea Sanford said.

Is the mechanical pencil deserving of its praise? Well, the Origins of the Mechanical show that it’s been fighting to be seen since its invention in 1822. After its invention, it was a matter of decades before the mechanical pencil was finally perfected and patented for the public to use in 1915.

The mechanical pencil had to sit patiently and wait for its popularity to sky-rocket in today’s society. It has been living in the shadow of the #2 pencil until now. Isn’t that something worthy of attention? 

Mechanical pencils have been praised for their many easy uses – and its reuse – as well. Social Studies teacher Mr. Dietz appreciated how, “They are easy to spin around your thumb.”

Freshman Sophie Dhupar said, “Mechanical pencils are more efficient because you don’t have to sharpen them.” 

Although the #2 pencil may not be number 1 now, it will be appreciated forever.