Outdoor dining opportunity is the apple of our eyes

On “E” Days, I sit through more than an hour of derivatives, limits and trigonometric functions.

Carly Wanna Mug
Carly Wanna, Editor

I rush to break with my friends, only to find out there’s an ecology club meeting I need to attend.

I hurry from gray room to slightly-different-shaded-gray room to pack my brain full of future tense conjugations and equilibrium, followed by an AP U.S. History test.

And once all of that is over, I can finally put school aside for a blissful 35 minutes before the afternoon takes it toll.

Or what should be a blissful 35 minutes.

Instead, I push into the cafeteria and am greeted by food being flung from one table to another, students fighting over seats, an abnormally cold tundra, and a dull roar created by hundreds of students and teachers sandwiched into one room.

One room with three windows. Three beacons of light. Three homages to the outside world.

And, staring out those windows as a piece of candy corn hits my back, all I want is to take my lunch out there and soak up the pleasant sun as I bite into my ceremonial lunch, a turkey sandwich.

Currently, 12th-graders reserve the right to eat lunch on the senior patio. But all other students, including juniors like myself, are confined to the four walls of the cafeteria.

Stratford claims one of the most beautiful high school campuses in Macon, and it seems like a huge waste if the student body doesn’t get to enjoy it. Daily school life presents few opportunities for students to go outside – it could be pouring rain and I would never know it – yet it consistently calls to us with its peace, its serenity, and its general lack of concrete walls and carpeted floors.

So maybe I’ll feel differently about nature’s allure when it’s December and colder than the Stratford library,. But considering autumn is just now beginning, the student body should take advantage of what time we have to spend outside.

At the risk of sounding like a child pointing out what privileges a sibling can indulge in, I feel it necessary to note that FPD and Mount de Sales allow their students to eat in the fresh air during lunch. I’m just saying.

Besides, I know that the teachers hate the cafeteria as much as the students. Let’s face it, we’re loud. However, what can be expected when 200 teenagers are crammed into a stony, echoing lunch room. Days when most seniors do not sit in the cafeteria already makes a marginal difference in the decibel production. Imagine a lunch room free of even more students, perhaps even half. What bliss.

Upper school principal Mrs. Margaret Brogdon said the main reason the privilege of eating under the blue skies has been reserved for seniors is due to concerns about trash accumulating outside.

That’s where the administration might have us. Honestly, we haven’t proven ourselves to be the best caretakers. I’ll grant that. However, even though we can act like children, we’re not. We’re capable young adults at one of the best private schools in the area. We’ve been taught well. Give us a chance to clean up after ourselves to prove we are responsible. We might just surprise some folks.

Seniors cannot only go outside for lunch, but they can also go off campus, a privilege rarely abused by the 12th-graders. If the seniors can drive off campus, order some Chick-fil-A, and make it back to school in time for the next period, I’m sure that underclassmen are more than capable of sitting outside during lunch without causing problems.

All students should be able to enjoy this lunchtime privilege, but maybe that’s too drastic a starting point. Maybe letting juniors and seniors could be a first step. We could reserve the Senior Patio for seniors only and allow other students to sit in other areas, perhaps the soccer field or between the library and science building.

Brogdon said that the issue of enjoying nature during lunch had not been recently brought up, and she is willing to revisit the question. So attention students, Student Issues Board (SIB), administration, somebody. Please work at this for us diligent students to be able to step away from the pressures of school, meander outside, bask in the warm sun, and munch on our apples before the last two classes of the day.

And make it quick. Winter is fast approaching.