Ode to the cafeteria that was

“Let’s go––gotta be first––it’s chicken fried steak.” The BSM cafeteria used to be a critical part of the high school experience. 

Between the bustling lunch hours, its walls were filled with laughter, commentary on classes, and homework scramblers. Yet, in 2020, all one finds is a vacant room with piercing fluorescent light and no soul. Closed down as a result of COVID-19, the cafeteria of the past is greatly missed. 

The cafeteria was a place of tremendous gathering. Seniors and sophomores just four feet apart. Two different worlds colliding. The place was one where humor reigned supreme and great things were discussed. Who’s the greatest basketball player of all time? Is that homework due next hour or tomorrow? And how come the smoothies are so expensive? These types of intellectual quarries were quite common. 

For thirty minutes, a select student body was free from the classroom and its rigid rules. That’s not to say lunch didn’t have its own unspoken code. For experienced Red Knights, the timing of lunch became a practiced ritual with distinct parts: 

  • Rush to line (5 minutes)
  • Get a seat and talk (10-15 minutes depending on the conversation)

After those two boxes were checked, a seemingly endless amount of opportunities arose. One could: 

  • Go to the Great Hall and play basketball 
  • Talk it up at the Hydration Station 
  • Visit the Spirit Shop 
  • Go to the Atrium 
  • Wander the halls 
  • Go to one’s locker 

Okay, so maybe the possibilities weren’t unlimited, but in the cafeteria, it was very easy to appreciate all of BSM. It was a hub of the culture here. If you want to know what BSM was like before COVID, you only needed to sit in one lunch period to get the whole experience. 

As a senior, I think the lack of the cafeteria may be what I miss most about this year. While it’s been nice to eat out every day, I miss the variety that lunch brought, the chaos of being packed in with friends, the astute conversations about everything that matters, and yes, I miss my chicken fried steak.