CHS Debuts New “Smart Lunch”


CHS Students eat spread out in the gym (photo courtesy of Colin Kind)

“The cafeteria used to be so cramped last year when we used to eat lunch in our fifth-period class. It was terrible,” junior Amare Gantt said reflecting on his freshman year lunch.

Unlike last year where students only had 15 minutes to eat their lunch, they now have 41 minutes to eat wherever they choose in the building, including the cafeteria, B224 computer lab, library, classrooms, or Senior Court, weather permitting.

One of the designated eating areas, primarily for freshmen, is the cafeteria. (photo courtesy of Colin Kind)

“You get more time than last year to eat lunch, which is really nice,” junior Daulton McDonald said. “Last year was only 15 minutes; I think that is ridiculous. We didn’t even have time to finish eating.”

In the past, a “Smart Lunch” model was considered, but the logistics of everyone eating at the same time was an obstacle. Having seen the success of having everybody eat lunch at the same time last year, the administration decided to establish a common lunch period this school year.

“One of the very few positives out of Covid was it showed our lunch people that they could do that and they could do it effectively,” CHS Vice Principal and Athletic Director Jason Meile said.

“Smart Lunch” is the new 41-minute lunch period that CHS has implemented in all students’ schedules. Smart Lunch, held during sixth period, gives students the opportunity to not only eat lunch but also get extra help in the classroom, study in the library, attend a club meeting, or hang out with friends in the gym during their lunch period. Students can also attend teachers’ “office hours.” Days of the week are allotted to each subject area for students to go during lunch for anything they missed in class, to make up a test, or for extra help.

The B224 computer lab is a location that is available for students to eat.(photo courtesy of Colin Kind)

According to Meile, developing Smart Lunch served multiple purposes.

“It would get a little more student involvement in clubs, getting extra help, and for the people who are involved after school with sports, they can’t normally do as many clubs,” Meile said.

Although Smart Lunch is held every day, on Mondays all students eat lunch in their assigned homerooms, which allows for the distribution of and collection of any necessary information. This is also when TV Production’s weekly segment of “CHS TV” is shown to students in their homerooms.

“Once a week this would be an opportunity for everybody to come into smaller groups, it allows for people to collect money for Senior trip, Homecoming, and communicate about upcoming events,” Meile said. “So it’s just one day where you know where everybody is going to be.”

Tuesdays through Fridays, on the other hand, is when teachers hold office hours and clubs meet during Smart Lunch. Each subject and club has its own designated day. Teachers are available in their classrooms for students to go and get extra help.

After the first 15 minutes, students are not allowed to switch the area in which they chose to eat lunch. (photo courtesy of Colin Kind)

On Tuesdays, students can go to their Math, Phys-Ed, Art, Music, and Foods teachers. On Wednesdays, office hours for English, World Language, and PE are held. On Thursdays, Science and Special Education teachers are available, and on Fridays, Social Studies and Business/Technology teachers are available during lunch.

According to Ms. Riley Gartland, a math teacher at CHS, for the most part, her students tend to only use Smart Lunch to make up assignments, rather than get extra help.

“A lot of students have used Smart Lunch to make up tests and quizzes since after school it was only 30 minutes, and now they have a full class period, to make up a test, and get the full time,” Gartland said.

But some students, like senior Taylor Muraresku, have been using their additional time for lunch in order to receive extra help.

“I like it because you can go and see your teachers and get extra help, it’s easier than going during a 20-minute lunch period that we used to have,” Muraresku said.

With so many options available during Smart Lunch, some students have had issues being able to eat with all of their friends at one time.

“I can’t see all my friends at one time because some of them don’t eat lunch in the same spot as me,” sophomore Brian Finerghty said.

Although some students may not like some aspects of Smart Lunch, there are others that have enjoyed the options Smart Lunch presents. Junior Kyle McDonough likes the opportunities of the new, longer lunch period.

During the second marking period, playing basketball in the gym was an option that was added for students. (photo courtesy of Colin Kind)

“I really like the longer lunch, it gives you the freedom… to eat lunch wherever you want,” McDonough said. “I don’t see any negatives so far.”

Meile said he hopes Smart Lunch will continue to grow and evolve and become a part of the new culture here.

With the start of the second marking period, there have been some slight changes to Smart Lunch. One change is that the Honor Gym is now open for students to play basketball with their friends, while also eating lunch. Additionally, Senior Court is no longer a place for students to eat due to the colder weather.

Further, after noticing three minutes was not enough time to travel between lunch and seventh period, Smart Lunch was cut by three minutes to give students more time to get to their seventh-period classes. Smart Lunch now ends at 11:55 a.m. instead of 11:58 a.m. allowing students six minutes to get to their next period class by 12:01 p.m.

According to Vice Principal Kaitlin McCann, the administration is still working to make Smart Lunch as effective as possible. She explained that Smart Lunch will evolve as students respond to this new lunch arrangement.

“It’s what interests we’re not meeting right now. Is there a club or an organization that a teacher hasn’t thought of yet?” McCann said.

As the year progresses, the school plans on reaching out to students for feedback on how Smart Lunch is received by the student body.