The Upper vs. Lower Lunch Debate


Natalie Boulos

THE CALM AFTER THE STORM Many students rush to the lunch lines in the hopes to get their lunch first. The rush causes significant chaos and doesn’t give many students a chance to get their lunches. This has also become an unfair advantage for those with further classes who can’t make it to the LeVecke fast enough. Many complain about lines promoting cutting and how frustrating it is to just get lunch. Another complaint stems from not being able to find friends to sit with at lunch now with changing lunch schedules that are forcing friend groups to break. “I prefer having upper lunch because I can converse with more friends since I rarely see them after school,” Calilung said. “Upper lunch is also less crowded and the food line is shorter.”

This new school year has brought changes to the school day as a whole, but one notable change is to the lunch schedule: upper lunch and lower lunch have switched times. Last year, lower lunch was first and upper lunch was second. For the 2022-2023 school year, upper lunch is first and lower lunch is second. This change has created some controversy amongst students.

Lunch times depend on students’ blocks 5 and 6 classes, respectively. Classes are considered lower classes or upper classes based on the majority of students who are taking the class. Classes that have lower lunch are typically filled with underclassmen, who will go to class first and then eat. Classes that have upper lunch are typically filled with upperclassmen, who will eat first and then go to class.

“Having different lunches affects my schedule regarding schoolwork and extracurriculars,” senior Nadia Calilung said. “Compared to my upper lunch, I have already completed all my classes and can go home following lower lunch, where I can start on schoolwork and other materials early.”

Calilung experiences both upper and lower lunch. On GRAY days she has upper lunch, but on RED days she has lower lunch. At first, she was unsure about who she was going to sit with at lower lunch since she knew none of her friends would be there.

“I thought it would be challenging to find someone to eat with since I didn’t know as many people that are underclassmen; however, I was able to find a friend from junior year,” Calilung said. “We spend time in the library or talk outside the cafeteria.”

For some students, the school day feels longer having two classes after lunch instead of one. Other students prefer to eat lunch earlier in the day because they get hungry quicker and can not wait through two or three classes to eat. Students could benefit from both lunches depending on their personal preference.

“If I could change the schedule, I would alternate between the first and second lunch,” Calilung said. “Some students prefer having lunch early, and others rather have lunch later, so I believe interchanging it pleases both sides.”

Lunchtime can be very chaotic trying to find your friends and navigate crowded lunch lines, but for many students it is a time to take a break from the school day. Calilung has made it work between the two lunches and is learning to adjust to the change in her daily schedule. Not only does she have time to eat, but she can socialize with her friends.

“Overall, I enjoy and feel comfortable with having both lunches,” Calilung said. “For upper lunch, I see more friends, and it’s always exciting to fill each other in on what’s happening in our lives. I’m also pleased with having lower lunch because rather than having a group discussion, I can have a one-on-one conversation with my friend creating a restful environment.”

Sophomore Sophia Almeida says that having differences in the lunch schedules makes it harder to find friends and is adding to her stress of figuring out who to sit with at lunch.

“Having different lunches affects me because I don’t have one solid friend group to sit with, so I have to alternate between them and it’s really hard to get close to them,” Almeida said. “I feel that lunch isn’t fair for everyone, especially sophomores. We’re very divided, and maybe we’re very divided between our friend groups and upper lunch is definitely more crowded than lower lunch. It’s harder to meet up and find my friends.”

Keeping her friends close is important to Almeida. She values her friendships and it took her a while to be able to make these connections. With different lunch schedules making it hard to see and socialize with her friends from last year, she finds herself stuck in a situation where lunch has become a more negative experience than it being a time to rest and take a break from her school work.

“Lunch is more negative,” Almeida said. “A lot of my close friends have different lunches than me. And I don’t get to spend time [with them]. And it’s very hard to find just one solid friend group to hang out with.”

Sophia also explains how much lunch has affected her and her close friend group, and that she finds it harder to socialize and make new friends.
“It’s kind of tearing my friendships apart because I don’t get to sit and talk with my close friends and all I do is text them,” Almeida said.

Freshman Kayla Stephanos shares that lunch is a positive and a good time for her to reset from her day of classes and homework.

“It’s just a nice break to chill and reset,” Stephanos said.

Though Stephanos enjoys the lunch break, one difficulty she has faced is the overcrowded lunch lines, which can become frustrating.

“The line is incredibly long,” Stephanos said. “Sometimes I’ll get to the front of the line, but then everyone just cuts. It’s not a really productive system to get your lunch.”

Senior privileges being taken away, and tight space contribute to the overcrowding problem that many have been upset about. With long lines making it practically impossible to get lunch, having enough to eat and the overcrowded tables makes it hard to get to know people and find a place to sit. It seems that lunch is slowly becoming an unwanted part of the day. “It has been harder to find people to eat lunch with because I never know where my friends are going to sit and I just stand around by myself sometimes,” Almeida said. (Natalie Boulos)

Although Stephanos has her concerns, she also presents some solutions that can help make lunch become a smoother process.

“What I would change about lunch if I could would probably [be creating] a stricter line system,” Stephanos said. “Either more lines or a way where kids can’t cut, so that everyone’s not waiting for a long time and then when you get up to the front, you have only 10 minutes to eat.”

Freshmen have been facing their own problems with lunch, especially as they are navigating their way through the new lunch system and getting used to all the new expectations of being a high schooler.