DOWNEY - Ever since the demolishment of the cafeteria at Downey High School late last year, the students and staff have had to adjust to another form of distributing food to nearly 4,000 students.The new system, composed of several food tuft sheds located on different parts of the Downey campus, has had its failures and achievements. Without a cafeteria, students find it more difficult to get shelter in bad weather and the cafeteria faculty has needed to find another way of cooking enough food and keeping it warm until lunchtime. "It's been a logistic nightmare," said Downey principal Tom Houts. "The faculty has been hit hard. There is no cafeteria to keep students out of the rain and the food has to be cooked in the morning and kept warm in room PEX, a room in the girls' locker rooms." With the absence of a cafeteria, the wait in line for lunch seems to have substantially increased and students have much less time to eat their food and talk to friends. "It takes so much time to make line, especially with so many kids that cut in line," said Downey senior Zully Guerra. "Now, I only have time to get my lunch and sometimes eat it. The new system takes too much time, and if you have B lunch, it is more unfortunate because if you are one of the last ones to get food, you have to settle for yogurt or Pop Tarts." Although the new system has many complications, more students are buying lunch. "The count of students buying lunch is actually going up," said Food Service Manager Betty Lukas. "Students adjusted very well to the new situation and so has the staff." Contributing to why more students are buying lunch might be the change in quality of the food. The school now offers barbecued hamburgers and hot dogs among regular menu items such as pizza, sandwiches and salad. "Ironically, the absence of a cafeteria has actually brought on a better menu," said Downey senior Lisa Kim. The new cafeteria is projected to be styled after a food court with large flat-screen televisions that will constantly play music videos and ESPN.
********** Published: February 19, 2010 - Volume 8 - Issue 44