by ALISON LEVIER Photographer/Videographer
Douglas H. Fisher, New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture, visited MTHS on Tuesday, September 9 to address the “exceptional” lunches being served in Monroe.
This meeting consisted of raves from all about the high level of service provided at the cafeterias here at MTHS. All who spoke mentioned the strides MTHS has made to provide healthy food to its students, but lacked something major.
Aside from Senior Class President Krystle Danza, no student spoke about the lunches. If the students are the ones eating the lunches, why were there only adults in suits in the room?
I guess I have to do everything around here.
I interviewed several students about their opinions on the lunches at school, and I think their opinions should really be the only opinions that are considered valuable on the matter.
I interviewed sophomore drama club member Peter Toto, senior athlete Christa Tomasulo, senior Thespian Anne Ballman, and the health-conscious dancer senior Hayley Miller to obtain the widest variety of opinions, and these were their responses.
Q: What do you think of the school lunches? PT: Personally, I believe that the lunches are really great. I like that I have many options and that I would be satisfied with any option. CT: They are nauseating. They are often cold and/or excessively greasy. The chicken specifically is rubbery and leaves a throw-up like aftertaste. AB: The only school lunches that taste good are made with meat that is barely even edible. They are so focused on health, yet they continue to feed us Grade D meat. HM: (After initial laughter at the question) Considering that it’s a high school cafeteria, I wouldn’t say it’s totally awful, but it could definitely be better.
Q: Do you feel like you can get a balanced meal at school? PT: I do. However, I am one of the few students that decides to get the fruit they have out. The kids that don’t get the fruit are really depriving themselves because, health aspect aside, the fruit is usually good. CT: Technically yes because you can easily involve all food groups in every section of the cafeteria. But the real question is, is the meat really even meat? NOOOO. AB: There’s probably one meal that I could find that would be healthy and balanced and taste good, but I would have to eat that one meal every single day. HM: In general, the entree line does not supply the most healthy meals. However, the health conscious students make the decision to go to the deli line to make their own salad, sandwich, or wrap, which is a great option that the school provides us with.
Q: What changes would you make to improve the quality of lunches? PT: I’d like to see the lines move a bit faster. Maybe that’s just a pet peeve of mine, but I don’t think it has to be so slow. CT: Definitely add more bananas and perhaps watermelon and berries. Healthy foods that teens will actually eat. Also, Grade A or at least B meat. I do appreciate the switch to whole wheat bread. A small change can make a big difference. AB: Real meat. HM: I would want them to only display the food that looks appetizing, rather than leftover scraps from the day before and expecting us to eat it. The vegetables are obviously recycled from certain meals, and they reuse them in things like soups and side salads.
Q: Would you be willing to pay more for lunch at school if the quality was improved (ex: higher grade meat)? CT: It depends how much, but probably yes. AB: I wouldn’t mind paying more if it was for real meat. HM: For sure.
Obviously, not all the raves at the meeting were completely justified. A teacher asked me what Mr. Fisher was doing at MTHS, and when I told her they were discussing improvements in the cafeteria, her response was, “Oh, they’re improving the lunches?”
No, they apparently are improved.
Perhaps the next time a hotshot from Governor Christie’s office comes to visit, students will be allowed to voice their opinions. Until then, we can make our voices heard in small ways.
Just last spring, Ballman sent an email to Mr. Goodall about eating in the courtyard outside of Cafeteria B, and this year we can eat outside. If you have something to say, make your voice heard.
What do you think of the lunches at school? Would you change them? Tell us in the comments below!
Eds note: Just to set the record straight, students ARE NOT served Grade D meat. That’s just a popular rumor that likes to make its rounds on the internet.