The Student News Site of Berkley High School


The Student News Site of Berkley High School


The Student News Site of Berkley High School


Lunch Break is a Break From School

Photo by Scarlett Buick
BHS students on their way to lunch

12:40pm. The lunch bells ring, and roughly 1300 BHS students make their way to their lunch destinations, hurrying as quickly in the hallway traffic as their leaden backpacks will allow. What makes this unique when compared to lunchtime at many high schools around the country is that Berkley students have the ability to leave the high school grounds for what is called an “open campus” lunch. While this is routine, for most of us at Berkley, it is an anomaly when compared to the rest of the nation. So, what makes this open campus lunch possible here at Berkley? What is so great about it? And why should students take advantage of this opportunity?
Students who are given the chance to take a break from their learning environment, are proven to be more likely to go back to school refreshed and ready to learn. In between class periods, a time to decompress, get some exercise, and socialize with friends can be one of the most beneficial things during the school day.

I asked 30 students whether they left school for lunch or stayed on campus. More than 95% of students leave campus during lunch. Off-Campus lunch at BHS has been a tradition for decades. Mr. Waldman (a current social studies teacher, and tennis coach at Berkley) who graduated in 1985, tells a story of his experience with “open lunch”. Some of his favorites were “Burger Chef, the widely loved Taco Bell, and a party store equivalent to the Gas Station.” Mr. Waldman recalls his time and adds, “We loved going out, and while sometimes we stayed in, it was always a unique experience. We have proven for the last 40-50 years that it’s a way to relieve stress and an overall positive opportunity for the students!”
As a principal, Mr. Meloche sees it all during lunch. You can always find him in the courtyard with a cup of coffee enjoying his lunch break with staff and students! Let’s take an inside look at an administrator’s perspective:
Q: How does off campus lunch positively affect the students and staff?
A: When I stand outside, and get to see all the students interact, I love it because everyone gets a break to decompress before 5th and 6th hour! Personally, I think that our 45 minute lunch is one of the biggest bonuses here. I do think for students who may need to step away sometimes, moving your body, getting fresh air can be great for brain development, and I think it’s great that we give students the opportunity to get away for a little bit of the day, and I think that time is really valuable for students who may use that time to meet with teachers or clubs who meet during that time!
Q: How is off campus lunch specific to BHS?
A: I don’t know how many schools around us do have off campus lunch, but as long as I have been here and many years before that, off campus lunch has been an available option for students. I think one thing that makes it a possibility here is that Berkley is a very walkable community which makes it easy for students to get to local establishments.
Q: What makes off campus lunch here at Berkley an availability rather than other campuses?
A: The district decision and the continuous support from the city. As long as we can trust the students to be good neighbors, we will continue to have the option!
Q: Over the 15 years you have been here, how has off campus lunch changed and developed?
A: For a number of years, it was closed for Freshman, for a few it was closed for Freshman and Sophomores. As of the pandemic, it was still closed for Freshmen. One of the changes when we came back from online learning was opening off campus lunch for all grades to allow more room.
Q: From an administrative perspective,what are some of the issues that campus lunch brings?
A: The number one challenge is doing a good job monitoring the campus. You will see us out in the courtyard making sure that everyone who comes and goes is a student here at Berkley. Another thing that we worry about is what happens during lunch time off campus. Making bad decisions during your time off campus and then coming back to school and having to deal with the consequences. And also, general student safety. Anytime a student gets in a car with someone, gets behind the wheel, walks, bikes, etc. I always worry for the students and hope they are being safe and making smart decisions!

With many restaurants available to students, a favorite has to be Pita Way! Pita Way has some of the tastiest food with the freshest ingredients, getting us ready for the rest of the day. Their workers are so accommodating to us and always the friendliest! Kipp Quarton at Pita Way “loves being in the community because the students are so friendly and we like creating a safe environment for students during lunch. We take much pride in making a hangout spot for students to hangout and eat good food.” Kipp encourages students to come visit and try the “Pita Way Bowl” that you can pack with as much or as little as you would like!
Today, consider changing up your lunch routine and find a new favorite! Get some exercise and clear your head to get ready for the rest of the day!

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About the Contributor
Scarlett Buick, Feature Editor
Hello, my name is Scarlett Buick, and I am a sophomore at Berkley High! This is my first year on staff as a staff writer. I joined the class to expand my writing knowledge and by doing so, having a creative direction! I am interested in writing about student life and sports! I am a swimmer here at BHS, and I am so excited to be a part of the journalism staff this year! My donut cutter choice is an apple fritter ;) Go bears!”

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    Tom Hardenbergh '67Oct 16, 2023 at 11:05 am

    I walked to Bill’s Grill on Coolidge close to 11 Mile. I lunched in the cafeteria, too, but going to Bill’s was a great experience. Watching Bill prepare a hamburger was cool. He’d toss a ball of fresh meat on the grill, press it down with the spatula, toss in some diced onions, and flip it over as it sizzled. Every so often, he’d wipe his hands and spatula on his stained apron. Fascinating and what a good burger with a Coke! Also, the custard pie was to die for.

  • B

    Bill SchroederSep 29, 2023 at 4:52 pm

    What a well thought out and intelligent presentation. Kudos to Scarlett (full disclosure – she’s my Granddaughter!)