Students choose how they ‘Lunch and Learn’

Experiencing lunch for a longer amount of time, students balanced school and social activity. Most areas of the school were open to students, who had several options to occupy time.

Giving students a reprieve from the pressures of the school day, administrators piloted a possible new lunch schedule for the next year. The program, known as Lunch and Learn, took place from November 11 to November 22.
The reason behind the program was simple- to let students unwind and spend time doing what they choose to do.
“Students’ lives are getting busier and busier, their lives are becoming overly scheduled,” Assistant Principal Josh Klimovich said. “Lunch and Learn is a way to hit release for students in any way they want.”
The three regular lunches were shortened to 60 minutes of a single lunch block. According to Klimovich, several areas of the school were open for use, such as the gym, music rooms, specific courtyards, and the library.
Along with recreation, students also chose to do make up work or visit teachers for extra help.
According to Principal Sam Varano, Lunch and Learn activities ranged from “doing an hour’s worth of homework or getting an hour’s worth of help to doing an hour’s worth of absolutely nothing.”
Students had also taken to the halls, walking around with friends.
“There’s big groups of kids scoping the scene and trying to figure out what to do, where to go, how to navigate.” Guidance Counselor Thomas Overberger said.
According to Klimovich, the Lunch and Learn experience has been ”mostly positive,” with a majority of students liking the program.
“This extra hour makes it so much easier for me to get my work done and feel like I did it to the best of my extent,” junior Chloe Skinfill said.
However, some reactions were not as positive during the first few days of Lunch and Learn.
According to Overberger, “There were students who kind of had a little bit of stress, not knowing what to do, where to go or knowing who was where, but I would venture to guess that will change quickly.”
Students enjoyed a newfound freedom to . “[Lunch and Learn] is a way to make choices. I don’t think students have enough opportunities to make choices,” Varano said.
Clustering in hallways and classrooms, students sometimes interrupted other students receiving help from teachers and doing makeup work.
English teacher Sue Newlin said, “For kids to be able to decompress is a good thing, but if anyone does come into [my classroom] to work, they can’t work.”
Along with negatives due to classroom distractions, the cafeteria combatted the wave of students overwhelming the cafeteria to buy lunch. Students were encouraged to come back later or buy lunch from the concession stands or food carts.
“Students don’t seem to realize that they can show up 20 minutes late and get their food still,” Klimovich said.
There are pros and cons to Lunch and Learn, but eventually a committee, composed of teachers and administration, will decide whether or not to fully establish the program. However, students still hold the most sway in considering Lunch and Learn, and will be polled about their reaction to the hour.
“It’s about the students…with the rising amount of stress kids are under, it’s nice to be able to have an hour to just shut down,” Newlin said.