Outdoor seating: the senior privilege underclassmen love

Walking outside I feel exhilarated and free as the sun hits my face and I settle down to enjoy my meal surrounded by my friends. 


As students make the transition from junior to senior year, one special privilege many seniors look forward to is getting to sit outside during their lunch blocks. However, there are several significant problems with this desired and eagerly anticipated privilege. 


The first being that there is extremely limited space available to sit outside. There are only four tables outside which each sit a maximum of six people, so seating is first come first serve. 


“I feel like our privilege is being downplayed by the administrators and wish we had more options to sit for sure,” senior Daniel Delargy said. 


Students could easily expand into the courtyard because there are many picnic tables which just sit unused. 


“One of the things on my short list is to see if I can get facility services to expand the patio and if possible add two more rows of seating,” said principal Michelle Luttrell. 


The County has a system in place called a Capital Improvements Project, which puts all schools’ requests together and then takes a look at what priorities there are and puts them on a bid list. 


“I can probably argue that because we are overcrowded and our enrollment continues to go up, for security and safety we need to expand and get more seating options in order to give students the space they need,” Luttrell said.  


Compared to other schools we also have a lot less room outside to engage and eat. “Every other high school that I know has some sort of raised or elevated expansive patio,” said Luttrell. “The layout of our school restricts us in so many ways.”


Although there is limited room directly outside the cafeteria, there is plenty of room in the courtyard which is not being taken advantage of. There are even several picnic tables out there, which no one uses. 


“Years ago that was a privilege we extended to seniors, but it requires adult supervision and we don’t ask our teachers to do lunch duty, so I would have to take Admin and safety and security to work that out,” Luttrell said. 


Some of the underclassmen sit outside too, though they are not allowed to. It is extremely frustrating for us seniors when this happens because we feel disrespected and as though our privilege is not being upheld. 


“A lot of the time, the underclassmen get outside before us and take our seats, so a majority of the time my friends will be forced to stand around a table because we have no seats,” senior Kylie Rowand said. 


Although students have voiced their opinions and frustrations about this, nothing has been done to remedy the situation.   


“We haven’t seen students on campus in a while, so it’s hard for us to know offhand whether or not they’re seniors, especially with masks on,” Luttrell said. “When underclassmen do go out there, we’ve asked the seniors to try and help in a respectful way and redirect and regulate that, but sometimes that doesn’t always happen.”


It appears as though there are many issues with the outdoor seating concept, and not a whole lot of solutions for the senior class. 


“It really sucks because even if all of the problems do get fixed, it wouldn’t be until after we all graduate and are gone,” senior Rachel Meyers said.


Will these problems be solved, or will they simply be swept under the table?