Staff Editorial: Feelings on Fresh Foods

Media Staff Takes a Stab at New Lunch Program


PHS Media Staff

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Masden Embry, Copy Editor, Editor in Chief

The start of the 2022-2023 school year brought along with it an influx of new things. New teachers, new classes, new clubs and perhaps most importantly to students, new lunch. The new nutrition program introduced to our school this year, Opaa!, has both increased the number of school lunches bought and impressively boosted student morale to a degree which PHS could not have predicted.

When most people think of school lunch, the expression that comes over their face is instantly a grimace — the stereotypical picture in mind likely being a scoop of gruel ladled out onto a tray with an oh-so-appetizing side of mystery meat. The thought of such a dish alone can make those with even the strongest of stomachs go green in the face with nausea.

Opaa! is singlehandedly helping to dismantle the idea that school lunch has to be akin to prison food and in doing so, has succeeded in turning the majority of students’ frowns upside down. In the past, students never could have imagined having more than one option they liked let alone three or four different ones each day.

We asked our staff the broad question of what they liked about the new lunch program. Having a variety of foods to choose from was a common response – the media staff having no shortage of rave reviews ranging from the salad bar to everyday pizza. Additionally, the diversity in foods has extended to dishes inspired by different cultures thanks to Opaa!. These include Chinese, Mexican and Italian foods, all of which have proved to be rather popular with students thus far.

Another big hit is the sandwich dressing station. Here, students are able to decide which toppings and the quantity of them they want with their burgers, chicken patties and any other sandwiches offered. Having this station has allowed students to customize their meals to fit their tastes, increasing the number total number of students eating.

An unexpected perk of Opaa! is the Nutrislice app. Students love the fact they can preview not only what they will be having for lunch, but that there are actual photos of the items they can choose. Our staff appreciates that all of the meals are already planned out for weeks in advance, which enables them to decide ahead of time what days they will be eating at school or packing their lunches.

Despite lunch’s big wins, there are a few big fixes our staff is hoping to see made in the future. Maybe the most widely wanted change regards dismissal. Currently, tables are dismissed in different orders depending on the day – ensuring different tables get to go first and last each day in attempt to be fair. While our staff understands why this is the procedure, they wish it was a first come, first serve kind of thing. Students do not think it is ideal to have to wait to be dismissed last if they were there before everyone else.

A related issue is the seemingly shorter lunch times overall. While lunch periods are still 30 minutes as they have always been, the dismissal has made it so some students have not even gotten their food when lunch is halfway over. Our staff said they wish they would get to have their full time to eat instead of spending the majority of it either waiting to be dismissed or waiting in lines.

The different lunch lines were also mentioned by staff members. When students are lined up, it is difficult to see around them to find out which food is where. Students would like to see larger signs with the types of food in each line put in more obvious, accessible places like at the registers. They hope this would solve the problem of getting into the wrong lines and being forced to go all the way to the back of the right one to get the food they originally wanted.

Even with a list of procedures our staff would like to see changed, the positives have not gone unnoticed or unappreciated. The media staff is extremely grateful for the many improvements were made to lunch in order to make it more appetizing and enjoyable. Check out students’ lunch favorites at right and flip to page nine for a more in-depth look at Opaa! as a whole and how it was brought to PHS