The Second Lunch Controversy

As students settle into school, an issue that continues to dominate is second lunch.


The new schedule is now in full effect, and while it has been well thought out regarding class times and COVID protocols, there are also new and unnecessary problems. By week three most everyone was situated in their classrooms learning trigonometry and analyzing literature. There is, however, still one point of contention for upper school students at the Academy: lunchtime.
Lunch has been split into E1, E2, F1, and F2 depending on the cycle day. E1 and F1 lunchtimes occur at 11:55 on their respective days, a reasonable midday lunchtime that suits students, but E2 and F2 lunches do not start until 1:20, leaving many students extremely hungry until then.
To start off, approximately half of the 10/12 Division has first lunch and the other half has second. It does not appear that this will change throughout the year. This time is challenging because while half of the division is eating lunch, the other half is in a 75-minute class, thinking about lunch and unable to concentrate. Students do not learn when they are hungry. For many, it is especially hard because while lunches are at 11:55 and 1:20 now, this past school year they were at 10:45 and 11:00. This is a drastic change. Many upper schoolers have gone from eating brunch to eating a mid-afternoon snack and it simply does not make sense.
Students have a difficult time focusing in class when all they can think about is food, but they also have issues surrounding the time of second lunch in relation to sports. Many feel the two are too close and they do not have time to digest their food before after-school practices. Imagine trying to run cross country during the hottest part of the day with your tomato soup churning in your stomach-it does not sound pleasant. It would be better for many of our student-athletes to eat a full lunch earlier in the day as opposed to in the mid-afternoon, so they have time to digest it and can perform well.


The timing of second lunch is less than ideal for students in the 10/12 Division and one extra complication is that there is an even more select group in the Academy community that has both first and second lunch on alternating days. This leaves them eating at a normal time for half of the week but eating late on the other days and it can be very confusing. Eating at different times each day is not ideal. According to a survey completed by 161 10-12 students, 93.1% of students prefer a time other than the 1:20 lunchtime, with 59.6% of students preferring the 11:55 lunchtime. Everyone feels it would be better to have one lunchtime right in the middle of the day so we are nourished for the second half of classes, but not completely full when practices start. The Academy has done a fantastic job organizing this school year in person after our tumultuous online experience last year, but they have missed the mark when it comes to a satisfactory lunchtime for all students. It would be exponentially better if everyone could eat right in the middle of the school day, a few hours after breakfast, and a few hours before the end of the day.