Upperclassmen Should Still Be Able to Eat Lunch in the Main Gym Foyer

Photo depicts the main gym foyer as of 4/5/22 without lunch tables. Credit: David Scibilia ('22)

At the start of the 2021-2022 school year, seating arrangements were made available in the main gym foyer of Jamesville-DeWitt High School to juniors and seniors. There were about 10-12 tables holding 12 people per table. The main gym foyer is spacious and sunlit by the windows covering most of the ceiling. Students are inside for six to seven hours during the school day, so having a chance to sit in a room not lit by artificial lighting was calming and rewarding. Just two weeks ago, Principal Paul Gasparini announced that the tables were being moved back to the middle school and seating in the main gym foyer would be removed. The upperclassmen were not informed why exactly the middle school needed their tables back now, compared to earlier in the year, and most were angry about the situation. 

Juniors’ and seniors’ responses have been mixed. Some didn’t realize there was an option of sitting downstairs in the foyer, while others sat there every day for lunch and are disappointed and irritated they have to find new seating.

Senior Nick Dekaney states that seating in the main gym foyer “…was a nice option for the upperclassmen that offered a more peaceful lunch.” As a student who sat there for all of my lunches, I agree with Nick. The only places for eating now are in the large cafeteria, the small cafeteria, and occasionally outdoors when weather permits. While that may seem like a lot, the large cafeteria is very popular and crowded with freshmen and sophomores. Now that juniors and seniors are back in the mix, more tables had to be added to accommodate. The added tables are not the normal cafeteria tables, but rather circular tables that awkwardly stand out. While there is enough seating for everyone, it is crowded, loud, and stuffy which makes for a less peaceful lunch break. The main gym foyer also provided an easier route from some classes, predominantly those in the blue hall.

Juniors Maggie Reynolds and Caroline Skahen both “wish [the middle school] didn’t take the tables back.” 

While there was probably a valid reason for taking the tables back, most students agree that the opportunity to sit in a peaceful environment should continue to be an option and privilege for upperclassmen. One option to bring back seating in the main gym foyer is for the high school and middle school to share the tables. Dividing them would create less seating, but could still provide privileged seating for seniors and a few juniors. Another option could be to raise money to buy our own tables to put in the foyer. Each table costs about $1,700 meaning sharing with the middle school would be a more economical idea.

After having the experience of sitting in the sunlit main gym foyer, most upperclassmen relish the chance to sit there again. Students didn’t know how much they liked it until it was gone. With Gasparini retiring at the end of this year, students could attempt to persuade the new principal to bring the tables back for the 2022-2023 school year. The seniors and juniors deserve a peaceful lunch in the main gym foyer.

Audrey Harkaway, '23
Audrey Harkaway is a senior at J-DHS and can always be seen in a different pair of fun pants. In her free time, she enjoys lifting, running, playing the piano, and painting. She thinks every opinion matters and loves writing for the opinion section of RamPage.