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The Battle for Longer Lunches: Leaving campus for lunch becomes a race against the clock for LSE upperclassman

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The Battle for Longer Lunches: Leaving campus for lunch becomes a race against the clock for LSE upperclassman

Graphic by: Syann Engelhard

Graphic by: Syann Engelhard

Graphic by: Syann Engelhard

Graphic by: Syann Engelhard

Nolan Hemmett, Staff Writer

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Lincoln is growing and so are its schools. Lincoln Public Schools reports bigger populations every year, citing a population increase of 10.5 percent within the last five years. With more than 42,000 students in the district for the 2018-2019 school year, a problem has emerged: lunch routines in high schools. Lunchrooms across the district will become more and more crowded if we don’t start considering a change in our lunch system.

East High School has done just that by changing their lunch system in an innovative way. Lori Hemmett, the East High Counseling Team Leader said the school looked for a student-centered solution to the lunch-time issue.  “It was sort of the perfect storm of all kinds of things happening at the same time We were running out of classroom space. We were running out of cafeteria space. So we had to look at alternate ways to serve students.”

This is what they did: They made lunch its own period instead of putting it in between classes, by subtracting two minutes off of each period to make each period now 48 minutes long instead of the usual 50. Then they took those extra minutes and added them to the new lunch period, making the lunch period 48 minutes long.

“It was sort of the brainchild of a former assistant principal that we had, one of the Math teachers and the current administration. They all started looking at ways to break down the day differently,” Hemmett said about the new system.

East faculty voted on the new system and it was a landslide vote of 152 for the new system and only three against it. Out of the students Hemmett works with, all of them seem to like the new system. “I have about 250 students on my caseload, and I haven’t talked to anybody yet that isn’t in favor of it,” Hemmett said.

Senior Canyon Skare feels rushed when he goes out to lunch and is frustrated by the amount of time that Southeast gets for lunch. “I don’t like how, if you leave campus, there’s like zero time because there’s been so many times, like I drive to Jimmy John’s and then I get back and say uh oh and I have to eat in class. Some teachers don’t like that. So that’s a problem,” Skare said.

Skare believes East has found the perfect solution for rushed lunches. “I think that would really help people feel less stressed.”

This sentiment would most likely be echoed by LSE upperclassmen who rush to their favorite eateries to try to beat the fast food lines and avoid a tardy slip.

Principal Brent Toalson says he needs more information about what East is doing over there, how it was done, and what the driving factors were. When Toalson took over as Principal of Southeast there were originally two lunches. Then they went to the current three lunches after there were too many kids to serve with two lunches.

“The three lunch schedule has helped a lot just with fewer kids in the lunchroom, which gets them through the lines quicker and gives them more time to eat so we’ve been very pleased with that,” Toalson said.

Despite all the pros to East’s system, there are some cons.

“Right now, the drawback is ninth graders. They do not understand quite how to use that time so there’s some behavior concerns with ninth graders. They just are a little goofy at lunches, because they just haven’t quite figured out how to use their free time,” said Hemmett.

Another con is financing the 48-minute lunch period. “There is a lot of money tied up in supervision. [With] three 48-minute lunches, the supervision has increased” said Hemmett.

Longer lunches are definitely something to think about going forward. I hope that soon the upperclassmen, like myself, can take their time, slow down and eat their lunch in a timely matter. Maybe sometime in the future we won’t have to beat the clock and we won’t have to fill out any more tardy slips because the guy in front of you in the drive-thru ordered the whole menu.

About the Writer
Nolan Hemmett, Staff Writer

Nolan Hemmett is a junior at Lincoln Southeast and a Clarion Staff Writer. He is in his first year on staff and is looking forward to the experience. Hemmett...

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The Battle for Longer Lunches: Leaving campus for lunch becomes a race against the clock for LSE upperclassman