Students and Alumni Speak out About School Lunches


A recent school lunch, two slices of pizza with a side side of carrots. Courtesy of Njeri Kamenwa.

Njeri Kamenwa

Another year, another era of school lunches. Last year, the county decided to give everyone free lunches in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, however, students are going back to using MySchoolBucks to pay for lunches. Both lunch buyers and bringers at Eleanor Roosevelt are seeing the result of paying for lunches this year. Some say the quantity needs fixing, while others say the quality needs improvement.

Angel Bell, a sophomore in 5th-period lunch, has mixed feelings about this year’s lunches. She reasons that “we do eat, so [I think] that’s a good thing.” However, when going to buy lunch, she claims that students “wait in line for the one thing they want,” and then the cafeteria “runs out.” An anonymous freshman in 7th-period lunch gives out one specific scenario: “One time, they ran out of the main meal. They had to give out the leftover sandwiches to the students. […] Lunch line 1 had to be moved to lunch line 2 because they ran out of food.” However, this is just about the quantity of the food. When asked about the quality of the food, a senior in 6th-period lunch, Deysi Urquilla, states that there’s “a good 80% chance” that the students in Urquilla’s period get something “moldy or extremely cold.” A junior in 3rd-period lunch, Rafi Sayasa, notices how “the lunches tend to be the best during 5th and 6th period” and wants the trend to be “carried over to other lunches.”

The Raider Review asked alumni, now the staff and administrators of ERHS, to compare the lunches they had in the past to what the school offers today’s generation. English teacher Mr. Patrick Gleason remembers “the turkey and mashed potatoes [the lunch ladies] used to make” and how his friends liked them. However, he states that “students complained then” about lunches too. Social studies teacher Ms. Terita Pottinger had “some choices that [she] would eat and others [she] would not eat.” She vaguely recalls that some of the school’s dishes were unavailable due to late food shipments.

There are times when what you expect isn’t what you get. School lunches are no exception. When students expect school lunches to be healthy, delicious, and filling, they get unappetizing food that makes them not want to eat until they get home. If some of the funding for schools could go to the improvement of the lunches, then maybe we could have something to look forward to eating every day.