Lunch on the Freshman Quad
It’s 12:52 and the lunch bell has just rung. Lunch starts as a trickle but soon becomes a stream of students filing towards the concrete platform that faces the Little Theater. Some come to a stop on the concrete, others on the steps, while still more congregate on the grass directly surrounding it, but they all have one thing in common: they are ninth-graders at the Freshman Quad.
Students who eat there relish the familiarity of the crowd. “It feels more comfortable to know more people here as opposed to if I went to the Senior Quad where it’d be really awkward,” freshman Jenny Kram, who eats on the Freshman Quad on a near-daily basis, said. While the smaller quad is not officially designated as a “freshmen” area, classes of ninth-graders have been eating there for years.
In addition to providing a welcoming environment, the Freshman Quad helps foster a sense of class unity. “The Freshman Quad brings the class together and encourages interaction between different friend groups,” freshmen class president Tim Sun said. “With everyone hanging out in the same area, it encourages community-building.”
Lunch culture: Staff edition
When the lunch bell rings and students begin to file out, English teacher Diane Ichikawa follows suit. However, instead of heading towards the Quad, she makes her way to the English Office, where she has a brief 39 minutes to eat her lunch and spend some quality time with other teachers in her department.
Lunch for Ichikawa used to mean eating alone in the Village. However, after the construction of the N building, there have been more opportunities for teachers to eat lunch together in the new department offices. “The ‘commute’ [to the office] isn’t as far, so there’s enough down time for us to enjoy the ability to have a chat with colleagues,” Ichikawa said.
According to social studies teacher Chris Johnson, teachers in his department occasionally visit other classrooms to spend lunch together. However, most of the time, they spend lunch alone. “We are social to begin with, so lunch time is our opportunity to get away from things,” he said.
For teachers, the lunch period still remains a time crunch as teachers balance helping students, hosting clubs and eating. The average lunch is something easy to eat, and teachers usually don’t have the opportunity to go off campus for a meal. “There’s more time now because the office is closer,” Ichikawa said. “However, it’s always nicer to have a bit more time.”
Senior offers opinion on lunch off campus
I remember as a freshman watching the seniors screech out of the parking lot far above the speed limit, blasting earsplitting rap songs and yelling at the top of their voices. They would return ten minutes into the next period, sauntering with their Starbucks cups or Spot’s pizza. It was a dream for us underclassmen, the chance to escape the confines of the campus and go out to explore the world. As sophomore year rolled by, a lucky few of us received our licenses early, and so began our era of going out for food.
The food on Gunn campus is decent, and in recent years the school has made an effort to expand cafeteria and brunch line choices, so we are no longer stuck with only chocolate chip cookies and cheese pizza. Driving out to eat, however, presents unparalleled opportunities: first and foremost, it extends our freedom. As we grow older and near the conclusion of high school, we need to be prepared to be out on our own, to manage our own budget and time. Freedom to explore the local cuisine and extend our independence makes driving to eat out a valuable experience that never fails to entertain. As a senior, I’ve experienced my fair share of restaurants and cafés; I have discovered the classics that never disappoint. I don’t hesitate, however, to expand my options and try something new. And so I’ve compiled a list of my personal favorite eateries in the vicinity, ranging from those always filled with Gunn students to the hidden gems of Palo Alto.