The one thing that the ‘Iolani community always hear students talking about are the long lunch lines. All students have had, at one time or another, the feeling of hungriness running through their body. Oftentimes, after standing in line for what seems like hours, students finally get the chance to tell the cafeteria worker what they want, only to hear three disappointing words: “Sorry, we’re all out.”
The lunch line has always been a problem, and it seems to be getting worse every day. Even the current seventh graders, who have experienced long lunch lines but not to the extent of the Upper School, now know how troublesome it can be.
“I like the food here, but the lines are just too long,” said Jayson Matsuo ‘23. “I have already experienced times where they ran out food, or even times where I didn’t have enough time to eat my lunch.”
`Iolani students who have been enrolled in the school since Lower School, also tend to find problems with the way Upper School lunch queues are managed.
“I’ve been a student here at ‘Iolani since Kindergarten and, compared to the Upper School, Lower School’s lunch service was a little more organized and a little faster,” said Lauren Ishikawa ‘21.
While all of this is true, students must consider the trouble that the cafeteria staff must go through as well. Increasingly, more students cut in line to get their plate lunch and many others complain about not having their desired food. Indeed, serving lunch may be more difficult than just standing in the lunch line.
“The hardest thing for us is, our cafeteria is only supposed to feed 400 hundred students,” said Mr. Kevin Wada, Head of Sodexo. “But Lower School has 550 students, and Upper School has over 1200 students, that’s the problem.”
The cafeteria staff has tried solutions such as pre-bowling, or preparing meals, and even adding another checkout line, but traffic continues to be a problem.
One solution for students has been to bring home lunch.
“Even though I am a senior, I never buy school lunch or go off campus,” said Koen Bailey ‘18. “Since my first day at ‘Iolani, I have always brought home lunch. That way I never have had any troubles with lunch.”
It is true. If students always bring their home lunch, they will never have to worry about not having lunch. Although some students tend to cut in line, it isn’t the morally correct thing to do.
“I see people cutting, but to be honest, I do it as well,” said Marcel Truong-Chun ‘18. “I personally think it is okay, because everyone is trying to get lunch. But I understand that this might not be the best option available.”
It is not always easy to come up with a solution that can fix everyone’s problem. But, students have said things such as, “Just make another line,” or “What if they split Upper School so the lower grades get lunch first?” Although these are good ideas, they are not the easiest thing to do.
Sometimes you just have to be committed to being the first in line.
“I try to be ready to leave right when class ends. And when I hear the bell, I leave my bag somewhere safe and run as fast as I can to reach the lunch line,” said Caleb French ‘22. “If I am first, I don’t have wait as long as others do.”
Although being first in line is not easy, it seems like a more chivalrous thing to do than cutting in line.
All in all, just do what is right. Don't always complain and appreciate the days that you get your meal early. The phrase “work smarter not harder” is not always the best solution. While cutting in line may seem easy, and is in some way smart, the only person you are cheating is yourself. Instead, be the ‘early bird’ (student) and get your ‘worm’ (lunch).