For the majority, better food justifies high cost

In just a few years, a lot has changed in the school community. Sure, there’s still a thin film of grime atop some of the older lockers, and yes, there’s always at least one hallway that smells really weird. But there are also several milestones of development, including the completion of the new wing, the gym and, of course, the Statesmen Station.

The Statesmen Station brings healthier and tastier food to students, but at a cost, literally.

Conversation in the cafeteria has shifted from tentative and nauseated comments like: “the fries are kind of good,” to legitimately positive feedback; however, the complaints concerning the high price have skyrocketed since the Statesmen Station was put into place.

Yet, Statesmen have it better than most schools, so why are we complaining?

Along with healthier entrées, our new, vamped-up cafeteria station displays salad and sandwich bars. There’s even a student-lead singing and rapping group called MC Horne and the Fresh wRappers dedicated to the promotion of the cafeteria station.

With positive changes, a raise in price is only expected. What’s a couple of cents to high-quality and healthful foods that students can feel good about eating, especially for those who can afford it? For those eligible for reduced-price lunch, the price cap remains at 40 cents. According to a board review in November, FCPS has actually met one of their goals of providing free meals to reduced-price eligible students.

Of course, this raises a problem for the few students whose families only just miss the cutoff line for reduced-price lunches. Those are the students who actually face the problem of high-priced lunches. If we revert to the old system of serving “mystery meat,” however, they (along with most other students) will be forced to eat less healthy and oftentimes disgusting cafeteria food. With the questionable quality of ingredients in the highly processed 27-ingredient hamburger patties previously served in Fairfax County, the low price may have an immediate payoff, but result in costly health repercussions in the future.

Either way, for students who almost qualify for reduced-lunch, the issue of cafeteria food remains at an unfortunate stalemate. For the majority of students, though, the change in school lunches has been for the better, despite the increased price. Undoubtedly, high schoolers are bound to find something to complain about. But for now, those who only benefit from the new lunch system should suppress their urge to complain and try to chew with their mouths closed.