WHS could do a better job managing school lunches


Walpole High School cafeteria

Nicholas Fuller


Walpole High School cafeteria


When students at Walpole High School go to purchase breakfast at the newly added “Daybreak Cafe”, they are usually pleasantly surprised. This is because these breakfasts are filled with students who have worked hard to obtain privilege cards. So, it is safe to say these breakfasts are pleasantly calm and nearly empty in the morning; however, this is not the case with daily school lunches, or is it?

Students at Walpole High School have seen crazy lunch schedules this year. Nearly all students see a variety of lunches weekly, some being extremely crowded, while others are nearly empty.  Whenever a student thinks they are going to a good lunch—things often turn sour.  Walpole High School has done a poor job managing school lunches.

The inconsistencies of school lunch sizes bring about several questions.  Why are some lunches crowded while others are not?  What has caused lunches to be so unbalanced to begin with? There is only one conclusion that can be made, and our Administration is not going to like it.

The theory is that first and third lunch are typically more crowded in comparison to second and fourth lunch.  Research has shown the problems are evident, and the results are astounding.

After 75 students participated in a survey composed through Facebook and also in school,  and the asked the interesting question “What is your most crowded lunch at Walpole High School”, 64 students responded with either first or third lunch as their most crowded lunch.  Out of that large majority, 42 students said third lunch was their most crowded lunch; while 22 students said first lunch was their most crowded lunch.  85 percent of the students who participated in the survey agree with this theory.

Also, a counting was done for two of the four lunches.  Second Lunch, a typically less crowded lunch, contained only 181 students on day one of the seven day cycle.  The next day, at first lunch on day two, the lunch contained a whopping 337 students.

1,116 students go to Walpole High School.  The total of the two lunches (337+181) would equal 518 students for half of the lunches.  If you multiply 518 times two to get the full representation of the approximate number of students that go to lunch daily, it equals 1,036 students.  That sounds just about right considering some students are always absent daily at this time of year.

After also examining the lunch schedule that tells which classes go to which lunch, it is evident that not an uneven amount of classes are going to certain lunches.  For Semester 1, a total of 17 classes went to first lunch, 17 to second lunch, 20 to third lunch, and only 14 to fourth lunch.  Although first and second lunch contain the same number of classes going to each lunch, there are obviously more students going to first lunch.  This is becuase mostly science classes go to first lunch, and foreign language classes go to second lunch.  Not everyone takes a foreign language class; whereas typically science classes are more crowded.

Through these extremely fluctuating conditions, students get the complete highs and lows of the lunch schedule. In some lunches, they have all the space they need—and even more—to eat their lunch and socialize with their peers. Yet, other lunches are simply overcrowded and unsanitary.

Crowded lunches take away from what is supposed to be a relaxing and enjoyable time of the school day. Students deserve a break away from the classroom, and the current lunch schedule does satisfy this.  In the past, students did not have to worry about not getting a seat.  Now, students late for lunch plod into the cafeteria with some reluctance and a little bit of distaste.

Nevertheless, there is one variable in this problem that the school cannot control.  Over the past several years, the student population at Walpole High has been steadily increasing—as it has been at all public schools across Walpole—and it will continue to in the years to come.  Although this is true, it has not yet pertained to school lunches.  Some lunches are still not nearly as filled as they could be.

This problem affects students on a day to day basis. Walpole High School may have bigger and better things to worry about, but more balanced lunches can be reached through reconstruction of the lunch schedule.  It might take more work, it might take more time, and it might take more effort—but students deserve it.