Where Do Middle School Students Go On Half Days?

At every school, students are eager to hear the last bell ring on a half day. In Walpole, the crowds of students flooding out of school is hard to miss, but where do these students go? Middle school students are typically too young to drive and hold jobs, so students are mostly seen searching for places within walking distance from their schools. In a survey taken by 213 students—136 from Johnson and 77 from Bird—a common thread in responses was that students seek affordable lunches sold at nearby stores and restaurants.

Johnson Middle School’s convenient location, walking distance from the center of town, gives a variety of options for middle school students to get lunch, walk around and hang out with their friends. From Jalapenos for a sit-down meal, Subway for quick sandwiches and CVS for small snacks, the options are endless. Many middle school students shared their love of Jalapenos food.

“Jalapenos nachos are delicious, so [my friends and I] always get them,” said a 6th grade Johnson student.

Another popular spot for Johnson Middle School students is CVS. In a recent survey, 42.5% of students say they visit CVS during their half days. Most students say they choose to go here because of the affordable prices and the wide variety of snacks, drinks and candy. Besides enjoying the food options many students go for social purposes.

“[Going to CVS is] a tradition with my friend group and [me],” said 7th grade student Sophia Holbrook.

Besides getting food, middle school students have also shared other activities they enjoy doing on their half days such as going to the movies or getting their nails done.

Most activities take place in the center of town, but some students enjoy getting rides to further places such as Patriot’s Place or another mall to shop. Also, many students prefer going directly home or to a friend’s house to relax after a long week.

Being close to the center of town is ideal for Johnson students, but Bird Middle School is also in a convenient location, near the Palumbo Plaza where middle school students have only a short walk to reach their favored locations.

“Starbucks has amazing drinks and Big Y’s pizza is a classic to get on half days,” said an 8th grade student at Bird Middle School.

Although at any of these restaurants one is guaranteed to find long lines of middle school students, Big Y is the most popular location with over 38% of students saying they prefer Big Y. At Big Y, students have the options of getting the store’s cafe food, pizza being the most popular, while also having the option to buy snacks and drinks in the grocery section. The store also offers a large cafeteria area where the many hungry students can sit down and enjoy their food.

“My friends and I can go get pizza and hang out, and it is a pretty cheap option so we aren’t spending crazy amounts of money for lunch,” said Sophie Chrisom, an 8th grade student at Bird.

Many students chose to go to Big Y because of the food or the environment,  but another popular reason was the reasonable prices. Many students attempt to get the best option for the least amount of money.

Besides the favored Big Y, middle school students also enjoy going to The Good Food Store and Starbucks. Both stores earned 10.5% popularity on a recent survey. Students enjoy getting delicious sandwiches from the Good Food store, while getting drinks at Starbucks. Some students shared their favorite orders from these locations.

“I like their iced french vanilla lattes,” said a 6th grade student at Bird.

Going to these multiple popular locations gives students a place where they can hang out with their friends and other students, outside of school.

“I like to get some good food after a long and stressful week,” said Bird 8th grade student Regan Hegarty.

While walking to Palumbos plaza seems to be the favorite activity for students, many also enjoy other locations such as shopping, going to the movies or going over a friend’s house similarly to the Johnson Middle School students.