Third period lunch added to improve programming

By Frank Rodriguez, Editor in-chief

Amid all the schedule swapping on social media prior to the school year, one thing can be certain about the majority of Lane students: No one wants to be in third period lunch.

After having only three lunch periods for years, Lane administration has opted to implement a third period lunch hour for the 2018-19 school year, starting at 9:50 a.m.

The decision has sparked many complaints from students, concerned that many businesses will not be open early enough to accomodate lunch times and that the early meal time will leave them hungry throughout the day.

Ellory Penner, Div. 078, has been assigned third period lunch.

“The days are going to feel so much longer, because usually after lunch the average Lane student would have 2-4 classes, so their day is pretty much over,” Penner said.

The change sparked an article published on Aug. 24 on Block Club Chicago, a neighborhood news source, saying students in third period lunch have a “brunch schedule.”

The next day, Lane administration sent out a schoolwide email clarifying their reasons for making third period a lunch period, citing improved course programming and the increase in Lane’s student enrollment.

“One of the main things that we looked at was that it opened more flexibility for students to get the classes that they wanted because we had more options for lunch periods,” Assistant Principal Ms. Hanly said.

Hanly said that the main motivation for the change was to help enroll more students into their ideal courses, and a growing student population across most grades necessitated an additional lunch period.

According to the CPS website, Lane’s enrollment jumped to 4,603 students this year, the highest it has been in years.

“It’s not just because of this freshman class; I think that’s the rumor out there. Every class we have is really big,” said Hanly. “If kids choose to eat here, we have to have a place to put them.”

Hanly’s comments are likely in response to a petition on titled “Put all incoming freshmen into 3rd period lunch.” The petition has racked up over 1,500 electronic signatures, citing this year’s incoming freshman class as the reason for the new lunch period.

The email sent out by Lane administration on Aug. 25 regarding third period lunch said that this year’s freshman class is 1,159 students, only seven more students than the sophomore class.

Even after the petition and negative feedback from students and parents, Lane has stuck with their decision to incorporate the lunch period to students’ schedules.

Hanly made sure to clarify that the change is not unprecedented, as many other schools have lunch near or at this time, and it falls within state mandates of when to offer lunch. Other selective enrollment schools, such as Whitney Young and Walter Payton, have lunch periods at similar hours.

“We did do our research. We knew this would probably be something that was going to be an interesting topic,” said Hanly.

Another significant concern about third period lunch is that many local businesses may not be open for lunch early enough. The period starts at 9:50, which is currently not within operating hours for some restaurants such as Potbelly, Chipotle and Mod Pizza.

However, letters were sent to businesses over the summer to alert them of the new lunch period, and hours may be subject to change because of the earlier lunch crowd, according to Hanly.

She also encourages students to bring healthy snacks to school for consumption during passing periods, as long as it is done in an orderly way and the school is kept clean.

“Students snack here all the time, and as long as they’re doing it in between classes, and they’re throwing their trash away, and being neat about it and not littering, we accept those things,” said Hanly.

Even though it seems like a big shift now, Hanly believes that over time, students will adjust, and it will become a new norm.

“I honestly think that this seems crazy now, and then kids are going to do it, then next year, maybe two years, it’ll be the new normal, and kids will adjust,” Hanly said.