Lunchtime in Ouray

by Luna Sandoval

Every day at 12:35 pm hungry Ouray high school students quickly collect their items and make their way off campus. Students have until 1:20 to return for fourth period. A lot of recent changes within the school have caused students to stop eating lunch in the cafeteria. 

Lunch is offered at the school, but is no longer free to students. The recent pandemic has changed a lot in everyday lives. The school was able to make lunches free to everyone for two years, and relieved the community in a great way. 

Now that school lunches are no longer free, lunch numbers have gone down, and so has the number of students who remain within the two buildings during the lunch period. Nutrition director Amy Madaris said that while about 25 high school students got lunch in the cafeteria each day last year, this year the number is closer to 10. 

To some, it is cheaper to go home and make their own lunches every day than to eat at the school. But with a lunch period of 45 minutes, other students do not have the time to go home. 

Juniors Maryjane Cervone and Lily Feeser often pack lunches or make their way into town. “We sometimes go to church lunch,” said Maryjane, talking about a community lunch alternating between the Christian Fellowship Church and the St. Daniel's Catholic Church each Thursday. 

Those who do go home might care for pets and other responsibilities during that time.  Senior Clifford Utech goes home almost every day during lunch to walk his dog Trax and while he's there, he said, he makes “very filling and healthy meals.” 

Still, some students unable to go home for lunch yearn for more healthy options. “I don’t eat at the school,” said senior DC Miller, “because it makes me feel the opposite of how I feel when I eat good food.” 

Those who eat at school are grateful that there are some healthy options. Senior Pallen McArdle loves “the variety that the salad bar offers.” But it is understandable that cafeteria cuisine is a little limited, said Clifford: “I don't think the school has enough funding to make medium rare steaks for all of the students.”