Cafeteria Table Change Causes Mixed Reaction Amongst Students


Maggie Sheridan

New round tables are folded up to begin cleaning at the end of the day. These tables make it much easier for the custodians to get around and mop as well as clean surfaces.

On Tuesday, November 30, when students walked into the cafeteria for lunch, they were all surprised to find the usual long tables were no longer there. Instead, they were greeted with an assortment of different tables to eat at, such as high pub tables, the bar tables, and the round tables.

According to principal Michelle Luttrell, the school has been asking for new furniture in the cafeteria and put in a request a while ago. The tables are simply a delayed response to earlier requests.

“It’s important that while we have the oldest building, we’re still taking every opportunity to get some upgraded equipment and furniture whenever possible because you guys should have access to new stuff,” Luttrell said.

Luttrell asked the county specifically to give us flexible seating with different types of tables and options for students.

“The long tables piled everyone together and that wasn’t good for current circumstances involving COVID mitigations.” Luttrell said.

“The flexible seating has helped because now everyone has their own little seat as well as giving us administrators the flexibility to move around and get around every table when supervising so that if something were to happen, we could get to students more quickly.”

Besides adhering to COVID guidelines, the new seating also helps due to the school’s issue with overcrowding.

“The new tables have given us an increased seat count, which is great because our enrollment is so large, and we still have an additional set coming soon,” Luttrell said.

When communicating with the county about the new tables, she told them exactly how she wanted it to be done.

“I told them I don’t want new furniture if it’s going to result in a reduction of seating because we can’t afford to have that happen,” Luttrell said.

Although LCPS gave the school new tables, there are still other aspects of the school Luttrell hopes they will improve on and replace.

“Student bathrooms have been on the list for years and years, but we have not yet received word on when that change may occur, so we are still trying to upgrade everything else as well,” Luttrell said.

The new furniture has produced varied opinions from students across the school. “I thought I wouldn’t like it at first, but I’ve changed my mind. I like how the round tables make it feel more homey, and I can speak to my friends without having to shout down the table,” junior Kathryn Homa said.

Although students such as Homa have positive feedback about the tables, there are many that disagree with this. They argue that the new tables create a lack of seating and create an exclusive environment.

“There is no room for empty seats, so it forces you to sit next to people that you may not want to sit next to, and splits people up from their friends,” sophomore Luca Jungkeit said.

It is also a struggle in general to get to the cafeteria in time to get a good seat, according to some students.

“It is way too hard to find a secure seat, the whole lunch hierarchy was destroyed, I feel like I am stranded since the high seats are never open,” sophomore Devon Micheal Tremeau said.

“The tables being too small means that friend groups that would normally be kind of connected like chains are now disjointed, the problem of people stealing seats used to be nonexistent but some days I will literally steal a high chair to sit at the small table.”

Some students also struggle with the new seating because they believe the money could have gone elsewhere. “I think it’s a good change in scenery, but the money could have been used for better purposes,” freshman Carrie Fuchs said.

Overall, there are many mixed emotions about this change and it will take some getting used to for everyone.