School lunches pleading for a change

As students start to grow, isn’t it about time for school lunches to grow as well?


Sarah Rudolph

A normal day at Highland high school, with a special lunch from the cafeteria.

Sarah Rudolph

It had been a roller coaster of a morning, and all I wanted to do was sit down, eat some food, and relax. The lunch line stretched on for miles, time moving faster than the line itself. When I did happen to get my food, I wanted to throw up, the spaghetti looked terrible, and I was running out of time to prepare for the afternoon. 

Along with trying to improve the taste of the school food, school lunches should also be improved by a bigger budget and giving students more time to eat.

It was the day before we got off break, and the cafeteria workers had cooked up something special. Turkey, mashed potatoes, their version of a stuffing, and a pumpkin pie filling. The turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing were good, but the filling stuck to my throat like concrete. If the school had a bigger budget, they could have made the food taste better or look more enjoyable. 

According to Hanc, who wrote an article on school lunches for Money Marks and Media, ‘1935 was the first year Congress set aside money in the school lunch program. The government initially used the surplus food from farmers like dairy, wheat, and pork to make these meals.”

If school lunches were to get a bigger budget from Congress, then the students would be happier and more willing to learn on a full stomach. Along with having a bigger budget, students also need more time to get to lunch and eat. 

“Some schools average 25 minutes in the elementary years and 30 minutes for middle and high schools,” says Ki Sung, from in her article about school lunches. When you graduate to middle school and high school, in order to get lunch you have to wait in line, and sometimes the line doesn’t move at all. Some kids would rather opt out of waiting in a long line, and go grab something at the vending machines or drive somewhere, but that isn’t always a option, some kids aren’t old enough to drive, and some of them don’t have any money to spend on the vending machines. 

Now, some of you may be thinking, there’s nothing wrong with school lunches, kids are the ones who are supposed to be responsible! Take it from someone who’s eaten hot lunches for most of their life, it’s not always the kids fault if the lines close or if their teachers let them out too late. There are times where you get lucky with a really short line and then there are times where you get unlucky with a long line that looks like backed up traffic in California. 

I’m not some big hotshot doctor or a food specialist, but what I do know is that school lunches need an upgrade. While this upgrade may take forever to come, what we can do in the meantime is to write to the school board, the State or even Congress to help us. Not everyone can drive away and go get lunch, and not everyone loves eating PBJ sandwiches over and over. 

Lunches are what keeps us students from not turning into tired zombies who don’t want to go to school. If there is no time to eat lunch or the lunches look like they’ve sat out for a day, then I can guarantee that everyone in the whole school will turn upside down in a second. School lunches are a part of elementary, middle and high school too, and just like us, they have to grow up if they ever want to be taken seriously.