By Journalism I student Ty Fredrick
Although it has been two months have elapsed since the school board’s decision to close lunch for freshmen, many are still upset about the decision. However, the decision remains unchanged, and students of the Class of 2022 and onwards will need to find a different way to eat lunch. One of these options is purchasing the lunches offered in the school cafeteria.
The cafeteria’s method of accommodating for the increase in customers is still vague, but Irene Hunt, Director of Nutritional Services for the Upper Arlington School District, said, “We’ll continue to watch purchasing trends and how the students are getting through the line to best determine—especially moving into next year and then the years forward— what additional adjustments we need to be able to make.”
Hunt said the primary goals of the lunch service going forward are to provide diverse options in food selection and to make sure students can purchase food efficiently.
“I think that one of the things we have found with feedback from the students: they like to have efficient and fast [service], but also that they can also sort of tailor to their [preferences],” she said.
In a recent Arlingtonian survey concerning lunch options, 52 students commented on the diversity of options in the food provided during their discussion of the food. Junior Summer Powell expressed pleasure with this diversity, especially when compared to her lunches at the middle school.
“The food at UAHS is significantly better than what was at Hastings. There is a larger selection of food here and it caters to more people with different dietary wants and needs. Here, you can get unhealthy food, which I am sometimes in the mood for, but you can also get really healthy and nutritious meals, which I appreciate,” Powell said.
85 out of 99 students that gave responses felt that the food served at the high school was much better than that at the middle school, but, to some, buying lunch from the school might not be every post 2021 graduate’s dream come true; For all the praise the school received during the survey, many negative opinions surfaced. Sophomore Nicholas Johnson was among those who critiqued the school’s lunch options.
“[The High School’s lunch is] absolutely terrible. Food was much better in middle and elementary school,” He said, “They are supposed to be offering $3.00 lunches, but they do not include enough food. Many students are athletes, so it’s very important that they eat enough food. They should not have to spend 8-10 dollars on school lunch just to be full. They would charge extra because you have to get more than one ‘serving.’…It’s ridiculous that their first priority is making money and not making sure the kids get properly fed.”
Price was a major point for those in opposition to the school lunch, 35 responses came with a cost-related grievance.
“For such a low quality, the high prices are atrocious, as well as the problem of the healthy options, such as fruit parfaits, being higher in price than the unhealthy options, such as chips,” said Sophomore Carrie Waltzer.
Regardless of the complaints students express with the school’s lunch options, Hunt said the lunch program is always ready to change in to better benefit its students.
“We certainly want lunch to be a positive and enjoyable experience for the students,” she said, “We’re always open to feedback and suggestions as we always want to make it a better dining experience for our students.”