Hangry: The 2021 C.H.S. Phenomenon


Kiran Matthews

A view into one of the C.H.S courtyards during lunch.

Kiran Matthews and Maggie Heaphy

We’re back. Back in the Charlottesville High school building, within some sort of Covid-mixed normality. However, this return to our beloved classrooms and school routines came with a bit of a bumpy start. Hundreds of kids flurried in the open doors of the building, not knowing what to expect as they made their way through the first week of the school year. Without much structure or information, kids turned canvas inboxes and powerschool schedules up and down looking for their designated lunchtime periods. 

Within the first week of school, which lasted a brief three days, the release bell schedule changed a total of three unexpected times, each time with a different reason and different outcome. One of the most influential aspects of the bell schedule was that 3rd lunch students were placed to eat at 1:50 pm, much later than most were accustomed to. Administrators received the backfire from students who were left deprived of food by the end of 5th period. Admin responded by releasing a new and final schedule which featured a total of three lunches; a C.H.S first.

 In a recent survey, KTR reached out to the student body to get some feedback on where  feelings around lunches reside. When asked what they felt about the switch, a 12th grade student said“The first two schedules put me with my closest friends all week; now it’s down to 2 days. I guess you can’t make everyone’s schedules work with their friends, but I was sad when we switched”. Aside from this common occurrence, many students also mentioned that 1st lunch (starting at 10:45), was now far too early in the school day schedule. 

The standing schedule places block day lunch periods between the times of 10:45-11:15, 11:25-11:55, and 12:20-12:50. While the timing of 3rd lunch appears to be in much better standings with the student body, many students have now turned to express concern about overeating during 1st lunch due to feeling like they won’t be able to eat until the end of the day.

Keen Davies, a tenth grader here at C.H.S., expressed her frustration with the schedule in a recent interview: “Our bodies are set on eating at a certain time, and changing that every day is really hard.” Keen has first lunch on even days and third on odd days, and she often gets headaches due to the variety in her lunch times. “First lunch should be much later on,” she says, “I think the fact that I eat at 10:45 is way too early.” 

Many students have conveyed their distaste or annoyance with the situation: 52.6% of students surveyed said their current lunch period did not fit when they would usually eat. “I’m never hungry during the 1st lunch; I mean, come on, it’s just way too early, and kinda interrupts my day. I usually just don’t eat during it and end up grabbing a snack during BKT if my teacher lets me. I know some teachers don’t, so it just puts your eating schedule in a peculiar place,” said an anonymous replier in the same survey quoted above.

However, not all students have been affected this much by the schedule. Sohie Ryang, another tenth grader in second and third lunch, said, “It was a bit challenging, but I’m used to it now. I usually eat a lot later at home, and it was hard to adjust, but I’m just thankful that I don’t have first lunch.”

With no changes to the new lunch schedule in sight, students are hoping they will adjust to their new eating habits. Whether finding separate times to eat safely in the day or eating a more extensive breakfast before school, we all hope to see increased ease within the lunchtime debate.