Lunch hour, rush hour!

The pros and cons of lunch hour


Lunch Time Clock Work School Break Eating Meal 3d Illustration

Mary Bolog, Feature reporter

Lunch hour. In the mind of a teenager, it’s second only to art or gym. However; it’s not without its pros and cons.

The hot lunch system at Saint Joseph Catholic Academy is managed by Taher, a food service company that offers catering services including business dining, campus dining, K-12 lunch, senior dining, coffee services, and vending services. St. Joe’s students can deposit money into the designated mailbox in the cafeteria which will be logged onto their student ID which can be used to pay for lunch.

They offer a hot, specialty meal every day and have a few other basic options such as pizza, french fries, chicken sandwiches, and burgers. They also have a wide selection of chips, desserts, and ice cream. Their drink selection includes soda, Snapple, tea, water, milk, chocolate milk, milkshakes, lemonade, and juice. The options change and vary as the year progresses, and sometimes they offer an opinion box where you can suggest new food items for them to make or buy. 

The Pros of school lunch 

Every Friday they offer either ravioli or pasta with choice of sauce and a breadstick which is widely enjoyed. Student Alex Daher raved, “The pasta is the best!” Other popular meals are pulled pork, tacos, nachos, pasta salad, popcorn chicken bowl, loaded baked potato, and make your own sandwich/burger bar. This year, they added a flavor station with four seasonings that can be used on anything of your preference.

Students have their individual fan-favorite meals.  Wings Wednesday is loved by many, offering three separate flavors of wings for students to choose from. An anonymous student commented, “I bring a lunch every day but Wednesday so I can have the wings! They are so good!”

In the cooler section, students can choose from individual hummus, veggies, and wraps. For dessert, students can choose from a variety of prepackaged sweets and fresh-baked cookies. The introduction of the ice cream freezer was an exciting incorporation.

The Cons of School Lunch

Although the food is enjoyed by many, complaints are not uncommon among teenagers with hearty appetites and limited budgets. Many students surveyed believe the food to be overpriced. Many wish for larger portions to match the value of the price, or for the price to be reduced.  A specific case occurred this past week, A single Hot Dog with “Toppings” and no side dish for $6.00. 

In addition, the school decided to combine all classes into one lunch period this year and as a result, the line for lunch is quite long and the checkout process goes slowly. Many students have only a few minutes to eat their food before they are required to report to study hall, and food is not allowed out of the cafeteria. Some days, the selection runs out: students at the end of the line have not been able to get wings, pizza or fries because there were none left.

One student, who wished to remain anonymous, commented, “I was looking forward to getting wings because I haven’t gotten them in a while and when I finally got to the serving station after waiting in line for nearly 15 minutes they were out! I had to eat vegetables with ranch instead.” Those who do not bring a meal with them to school have no other options but the one provided by Taher. The pricing of the food is out of students’ and parents’ hands, so those who buy lunch must pay the stated price, even when given a smaller serving than others.

Employees are Friendly and Welcoming

Despite the cons, the employees are a joy. The Taher staff at our school always has a positive attitude. Sophia Barrington-Nate stated: “It’s always nice to see the Taher staff’s smiles.” They are always welcoming and enjoy making personal connections with the students. The staff does some activities as well.  A few years ago, they held a “guess how many candies are in the Jar” contest where the correct student will have the chance to win a free meal! During the holiday season, they kept little chocolates or candies out for the students to grab which adds to the spirit of the holidays.

Overall, the community at Saint Joseph appreciates Taher’s services and employees and is grateful for their hard work in trying to keep the lunch lines moving through as quickly as possible.