During this school year and last, a major highlight of the North Point experience has been the one hour lunch. Found in only one other high school in the county, and few others in the state, NEST has made life easier for students and teachers. It has changed the dynamics of the Eagle family, giving students more freedom and allowing them to bond with their teachers. Now, however, NEST is in jeopardy. Due to declining sales of school lunches, the hour lunch privilege may be a thing of the past as soon as January. At this time, the North Point Nation needs to turn its attention to saving NEST.
Juniors and seniors can recall North Point’s lunch as it once was: four different shifts of twenty seven minutes, with students confined to a crowded cafeteria. Students were not necessarily able to eat lunch with their friends. More importantly, if a student needed to make up a test or in class project, it had to be done before or after school. Club meetings? Before or after school. Unfortunately, not every student is able to arrive at North Point at 7 am or leave at 4 pm. And as a school with a large percent of non-zoned students who live in all parts of Charles County, North Point must be aware of the burdens this places on them, and their parents.
Since NEST began, the number of clubs at North Point has increased dramatically, to as many as 162. Academic performance has increased due to tutoring and test corrections. And NEST, simply, is a time to de-stress. The break between second and third block allows students to be more prepared and more attentive for the rest of the day.
NEST, then, deserves to be saved. But how can that be done? The answer is simple. Currently, the amount of meals being bought during lunch (and breakfast) is too low. This is due to the fact that many students pay the price of a full meal – $2.40 – but only pick up a single entree from the lunch line. That entree does not count as a meal. So, students who are paying the price of a meal are encouraged to take an entree and sides – a salad, some fries, an apple, etc. Snacks and drinks from vending machines do not count as sides and do not add to North Point’s meal revenue. If a student doesn’t want the sides that come with her meal, she can give them to someone else by using the share station.
One thing should be clear: students who do not currently buy lunch aren’t being asked, or forced, to do so. NEST can be saved by those who already buy a school meal, but don’t receive everything they are paying for. Many students have brought up the issue of the quality of cafeteria food and its effect on sales. That point is valid, but it is not the most pressing issue at the moment. Lunch must be saved before it can be improved. It’s no secret that North Point students are extraordinary: they win championships and science fairs, are leaders and game changers, and stage Twitter takeovers. They can certainly save NEST. But it needs to start now.