The BIG Problem With the Cafeteria

Why more options do not apply to just food

The cafeteria—it’s a place where everyone can speak with their friends and eat while taking a little break from the day. But SHA’s cafeteria isn’t necessarily like that. You can still eat and talk to your friend, but the cafe is so loud that no one can hear what the other has to say. The cafeteria is supposed to be relaxing, but it becomes so crowded that bumping into people becomes the norm.

All students are confined to the cafeteria at lunch. Staying in a place too long makes any place become boring, and that is the cafeteria. “Some people feel more comfortable in other places rather than eating in the cafeteria,” said sophomore Maya Senquiz.

The decision about whether to allow students to move around for lunch ultimately rests with Principal H.D., the head of the school. Yet, a poll that was conducted of the student body in November 2019 states that 92.7 percent of students want to eat lunch outside of the cafeteria. Nearly 75 percent want the option to eat in classrooms, and 67 percent want Room 302 to be open for lunch.  Principal H.D. cites student autonomy as an important part of the SHA experience.  Yet if students are to have a high school experience where they can assume more control over their lives, then they need more freedom during lunchtime.

There are many different benefits to students being autonomous. According to Duane Moore, a teacher who is working on a Ph.D. in Education, student autonomy “allows for a potential increase in student responsibility.” It also “helps prepare students for planning in the real world after high school,” says Moore. 

If students want to have freedom during lunch, then the best thing to do is have the seniors—the juniors this year—get food off-campus during the lunch period. Every other grade would be able to go and eat in teachers’ classrooms or Room 302.

Seniors would have a chance for a reward and to get away from school for a while.  Off-campus lunch would show that they could be trusted with their newfound privilege. They would even have a chance to experience real-life lessons, such as selecting quality food and budgeting their money. The other grades wouldn’t be confined to the cafeteria anymore, and they won’t have to worry about bumping into other people. 

Yes, there might be some danger out alone during the day, because accidents can happen. On the other hand, seniors will have good tasting food that they have the option to eat, and a wide variety of it. Accidents also happen inside the school too.

“Some people feel comfortable in other places.”—sophomore Maya Senquiz

For me, the cafeteria during lunchtime has been crowded to the point that people continuously bump into each other. Some bumped into me one day and my lunch fell on the floor. Other times, I wasn’t able to hear my friends who were sitting right next to me.

If a solution to the cafeteria is to be found, then we need all hands on deck. SGA and the Student Council need to speak up for what they want as the voice of the people. Teachers also need to talk to the principal. Students will need more autonomy in their futures, and don’t you all want the future’s needs to be met?