Why do we Eat Lunch in a Gym?
For the XIIIs, Lunch is the perfect time to refuel oneself for the rest of the day. In the schedule, Library and Yard precede Lunch; which takes place at 11:00 am. After a competitive game, which is usually soccer, the XIIIs either go to Library first or go to Lunch as they went to Library before Yard. Then, they wait in the lobby for the adults to walk them a block and a half to eat Lunch.
The Upper School, which consists of the XIs, XIIs, and XIIIs groups, walk to the Church of the Village to eat Lunch in the Gym of the church every day. The Church of Village is a few minutes west of C&C. The Upper School groups walk down three flights of stairs down to the Gym, the basement of the church, where foldable tables and chairs have been already set up by the group which occupied the Gym most recently.
The hot food station is under the left basket of the basketball court, in front of the kitchen, and the salad bar is a few yards to the right of the hot food station. Each group gets three tables, and the students either line up to get hot food or just pick up a sandwich or cold cut meat at the salad bar.
The Upper School has been eating Lunch in the Gym “Since [the] fall of 2012,” said Jordis Rosberg, the school Archivist. “We signed a 10-year lease with the church in 2012 prior to the opening of school that Fall,” she said. C&C has been using the Gym as both their gym and their place for eating Lunch since the beginning of using 201.
However, only the Upper School students have to eat Lunch in the Gym. The Middle School Students in the school cafeteria, which is in the corner down the corridor to the right of the entrance after the lobby. In the cafeteria, there are also foldable tables and chairs, set up by the kitchen staff members. There is another kitchen behind the hot food station, which is on the right of the door. The salad bar is directly across from the hot food station on the other side of the room, near the emergency exit.
The school cafeteria is not only used for dining, but many meetings and announcements by the school are held there, so the school cafeteria is a familiar place to many of C&C’s parents.
The Lower School packs their own Lunch from home and they eat at their tables in their classroom. So why is it that the Upper School has to eat in a Gym, a place for exercise and organized athletics?
Michele Bloom, Director of the Middle and Upper School, said that the reason that the Upper School students eat in the Gym “is more or less common sense.”
She said, “It really logistical [the reason we eat Lunch in the Gym]. The kitchen is over there in the church, and if each group would have their own private lunchtime, we would start around 10:00 am and end at 2:00 pm. It’s really common sense, the kitchen in this building [City and Country School] is mostly for reheating and to make it easier for the kitchen staff when they have to bring the food from the church to the main building.
“The Gym is echoey, which isn’t that pleasant. There were lots of attempts [to change the location of where the students eat their Lunch] before we had our own food staff. One service tried to bring in bagged Lunch to the school every day. It wasn’t as fresh as the food we have now. But now that I think of it, neither is the setting of our students’ Lunch be their Gym per se, which I guess is funny. But in general, the reason why we eat at 201 is that it’s common sense and convenience all at the same time,” Michele said.
We cannot always control the happenings of our life. For example, many of the Upper School students are not in favor of eating in the Gym. However, most of those think that the Gym is indeed the best place for Lunch.
Gitana Savage, a student in the XIIIs, said, “In the beginning, I genuinely hated eating in the Gym because it made no sense to me that we had to walk two blocks to eat Lunch when we had a cafeteria in the building. But now, even though it still doesn’t make sense to me, I’ve gotten used to the walk and it doesn’t bother me. I remember the first few months of the XIs, I absolutely did not like eating at 201.”
When she initially responded to a survey sent to the Upper School regarding the students’ opinions on eating Lunch in the Gym, Mia Rutkovsky, a student in the XIIIs, said, “It’s fine, I do not have an extreme problem with it.” After an interview, she started scrolling through her memories of her Lunch experiences at C&C. Since she arrived in the XIs, she never had an opportunity to eat in the school’s cafeteria. “Actually, I don’t really like it. Now that I realize it, it’s kind of weird to eat in a gym,” Mia said.
Chasé Holness, XIIIs, said, “Many visitors that came to the Upper School thought it was bizarre that we ate in the Gym. Like when Nathalie [a current XIIIs student] came to visit in the XIs, she thought it was kind of weird.”
Parker Sproule, a XIIIs student, said, “I don’t really care where we eat although it could be nicer if to eat in a more sanitary and ‘lunchroomy’ place.”
Maya Ancona, XIsJ, said “Nope [I don’t like eating Lunch in the Gym]. It was better [when we ate] in the [Ball] Yard. I need fresh air.”
The week we ate in the Ball Yard seemed to be a pretty popular event, not only in the student body in the faculty and staff population too. Michele said, “I thought that it was beautiful, that one week when we ate in the Ball Yard. I certainly think that it was a better experience,” she highlighted how hard and how impractical to have the Ball Yard be the permanent space for the Upper School students to eat at, if they were to change the location, “the food staff had to come over from the church and then had to bring the food all the way to the Ball Yard from the main building’s kitchen, which I said wasn’t meant for cooking food from scratch,” Michele said.
Eleanor Keane, XIsD, said, “No, I don’t really like eating Lunch in the Gym. It’s very crowded and loud. I also don’t like eating with the entire Upper School. It can be awkward and uncomfortable. Let’s say you fall on your face, or drop your food. Everyone sees it! Also, you have to walk so, so far to get to the Gym! Just eat the lunchroom, that’s my solution. Not with the whole Upper School though, just each grade. I think a pro for eating Lunch in the Gym is that it’s a big space, and you can sometimes talk to other people. A con is that the Gym can smell weird. [There are] too many people, [it’s] loud, [and as a result, there is lots of] aggression, especially on Dessert Day [which is on Wednesday]. At first, it was exciting but then it was loud and crowded and annoying. I really miss eating with just our grade. I think [we eat Lunch in the Gym because there is a lot] of space and [it is] convenient.”
Many of the Upper School students who were more or less not in favor of eating in the Gym shared an answer with a pattern. They all wanted to eat in a place as larger and with as much space as the Gym, but they did not want to eat in a place which was made for exercise and a container for students to let out all of their energy for the day and to detox some perspiration.
Greta Irico, a student in the XIIsS, said, “I wish we could eat in a place as big as the Gym but it’s a little disturbing to know that people sweat a lot where you eat.”
Anjali Huque, XIsJ, said, “Can we eat somewhere else instead of the Gym?”
Felix Gaddie, XIIIs, provided an overall summary with the pros and cons of eating at 201. His elaboration went as so: “I don’t mind it, but I wish there was more sunlight because it can feel a bit dark in there. I like the new lights, the white ones. It gives a feeling of more space. But I wish there was a way to get more natural sunlight.
“I think that we should be able to eat in different places outside. Like groups can get food outside and eat in a park. Or the Teacher’s Lounge, or even the Teacher’s Patio. I like when we had to eat in the Ball Yard, even though it was kind of weird. But, there was some natural sunlight. We have a lot of space, but it is very warm outside and we should be able to eat somewhere where there is more natural sunlight.
“The good part about eating in the Gym is that we can see other grades and socialize with them. However, I think that it is shut off and not as welcoming [as the cafeteria] because it is so big and barren. In the cafeteria, there was some sunlight and I could socialize with my classmates and grade-mates. Eating in the Gym is like eating in a warehouse, there no natural sunlight. It’s not terrible, but I wish that there was a way to make it feel warmer.”
Not everyone who expressed their thoughts on eating in the Gym felt that there were many and better alternatives for their daily lunchtime settings. Cade Stow, XIIIs, said, “Yeah, I don’t mind it [eating Lunch in the Gym. We don’t really have any place where we could go to eat Lunch. In the cafeteria, it was really crowded, I remember that. In the Gym, there is a lot of room. But, I still think that we can use the space in the Gym more effectively. I mean, we have a whole Gym but our Lunch tables are still scrunched up together in just one side of the entire space.”
Storr Shefferman, XIsJ, said, “I don’t care.”
Copeland Rollins, XIsJ, said, “I like it ‘soso.’”
Seven out of 19 students who responded to a survey sent regarding opinions on Lunch at 201 expressed indifferent thoughts. Many of them felt that people should not care too much about what they eat, because Lunch is just about eating, socializing with friends, getting fuel for the rest of the day ahead, and taking a break from the constant movement of C&C.
However, seven students who responded felt negatively towards their Lunch atmosphere. They felt that they did not want to eat Lunch in the Gym. However, five students who responded did enjoy eating Lunch in the Gym. So, in the end, there were many mixed emotions thrown into the topic of where the Upper School in our C&C Community eats Lunch.
Lunch is like a time-stopper, but some feel that the setting of our Lunch in the Upper School can affect how they eat, how much they can socialize, and how well they can refuel in order to do well academically for the rest of the school day.
Lunch is a significant part of the day. Although many students take it for granted, Lunch is important. Just like how sleep is important, the human body cannot effectively accomplish their tasks if they do not have healthy eating habits and if they do not have enough rest.
Students need to understand that eating is good for them, it will make not only their body but their minds stronger. The environment should help, too. If the place where they eat Lunch makes students lose their appetite or makes them feel sick once they think too much about it, that is not the right place to eat food.