New cafeteria leaves students competing for seats

Valery Linkenhoker, Staff Writer

The cafeteria has been completely torn apart and renovated. Replacing the long tables and benches with booths, high-tops and four-seated tables, the cafeteria has had less room than ever before for students to share. New students are struggling to find a place to sit, as upperclassmen are “kicking them out” of their seats. 

“I was disappointed when I heard about this,” Assistant Principal Catherine Halbuer. “Kind of how a mom gets disappointed because I never thought our kids would be the ones to do this.” 

There are now 30 less seats compared to last year’s facility. Junior Emily Shoemaker expresses how bothersome lunch has become.

“I love the new cafeteria don’t get me wrong,” Shoemaker said. “I just wish they hadn’t decreased the number of seats inside. Everyone wants to sit inside, so everyone rushes to lunch as fast as they can. And the middle schoolers are rushing to lunch so they don’t have to sit on the ground. It’s just been becoming an inconvenience because the middle schoolers take all of the tables, sometimes only one or two to a table, and then the upperclassmen are left looking for a place to sit. It’s also an inconvenience when the middle schoolers take the bigger tables because groups of eight plus people are struggling to squeeze into a table that should only fit six.”

Confusion about where the junior and senior areas are has students asking questions. However, last year the area by the media center and solar array was made for the high schoolers.

“I don’t mind the younger kids sitting wherever they want,” junior Samantha Intille said. “But I feel that the cafeteria does not accommodate how many students West Shore has. Therefore, upperclassmen are struggling with finding seats and that’s why it’s aggravating.”

Some friend groups aren’t pleased when they get separated from old friends due to the lack of seats.

“The cafeteria is nice and I love the modern look but I feel it’s not worth it when now there’s not enough seats for everyone to eat lunch,” senior Fallon Klenotich said. “And I have no problems with seventh graders I understand they’re new but when I was in seventh grade juniors and seniors had lunch seating privileges and weren’t getting kicked out of their own lunch seats by seventh graders. Now all of us upperclassmen are going back to the old days where we are the ones searching for seats at lunch because the seventh graders are in our spots and if we ask them to move it automatically ‘bullying’.”

The new students were faced with harsh words and actions by upperclassmen on the first couple of days of school, to a point where a senior pushed a seventh grader to get a seat at lunch, according to seventh grader Ryan Canavan.

“On the first day of school two sophomores asked me to move politely,” Canavan said. “Then another two forced my friends and I to move the second time. Immediately they seemed angry about it and being rude about it, so we just moved. I really didn’t want to eat there anymore, I just started eating with my friends in Mr. Sarver’s portable.” 

Administration was disappointed to learn how some of the students didn’t welcome the new seventh graders. They weren’t expecting it and have stated that such behavior will not be tolerated.