News, Opinion, & Multimedia for Tamalpais High School

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News, Opinion, & Multimedia for Tamalpais High School

The Tam News

News, Opinion, & Multimedia for Tamalpais High School

The Tam News

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What’s for lunch at Tamalpais High School?

Graphic by Claire Lawson

Lunchtime at Tamalpais High School is unique among most schools around the country. According to a study in 2016 done by the National Library of Medicine, an electronic research library, of all the high schools in the United States, about 37 percent of them offer open campus lunches, and Tam is one of them.

Open campus lunches are defined as schools that allow their students to leave the campus during the lunch break. This allows students to outsource meals at any place feasible within the 40-minute timeframe of lunch. There are many available restaurants and stores in Mill Valley and the surrounding areas, but which are the most popular? 

For most underclassmen like Sai Wong, a freshman at Tam, lunch choices are limited as many of these students aren’t of driving age yet. Still, the array of eateries down Miller Avenue in Mill Valley provides sufficient options to cure students’ hunger during the school day. 

“I go to Safeway the most because it is the cheapest and you can go there and back very fast,” Wong said.

Wong listed other restaurants, such as Antone’s East Coast Sub Shop and Grilly’s Mexican Restaurant as his favorites, but cited expenses as the reason he doesn’t go there as much. 

Going off campus isn’t the only option for Tam students. According to the California Department of Education (CDE), California became the first state to enact a statewide Universal Meals Program. The program requires all public school districts to provide two free meals, breakfast and lunch, regardless of a student’s financial situation.

“The food is very accessible and if you’re trying to save money or don’t have money you can just eat on campus,” Wilson Adkins, a junior at Tam, said. 

Adkins, who gets student lunch three to four days a week, added the free lunch is helpful, especially for students trying to study. 

“I don’t get enough food though. The portions are pretty small, but there is only so much you can expect from free food,” Adkins said. 

Each lunch consists of a choice of a lunch entree, — which is rotated daily— fruit, one cup of vegetables, and milk or juice, according to a message sent out by Tam administration. For students like Adkins, the Tamalpais Union High School District (TUHSD) wrote in an email that those who want additional food can pay $3.50 for a second breakfast and $6 for a second lunch.

Graphic by Jaana Tremp

Despite the small portions, consistent lines appear outside the cafeteria doors when the lunch bell rings.

“Almost everything they have is restaurant quality,” sophomore Zoe Goldman explained about Tam’s free student lunch. Goldman added the expenses of off-campus food as another reason she loves staying on campus.

“Regardless of where you go off campus it is going to be 10 to 15 bucks for a full meal,” Goldman said. 

For some students, things do change once students obtain their driver’s license. Goldman, who will receive her license in a couple months, explained higher quality food places such as Sol Food, Cafe Del Sol, and Millie’s Crêpe et Crème will attract her to head off campus more often. These select places are not accessible to all students, so there are more opportunities for students like 

Goldman to be able to get their lunch without having a long wait. 

“It gives me so much freedom on what I want to eat throughout the week,” Goldman said. 

While this is the case for Goldman, Adkins, who received his license this past year, highlighted numerous places within walking distance of Tam. His top spots include Super Duper, Extreme Pizza, and Safeway, all of which are within a 10-minute walk of Tam.

“I would go off campus to these places much more if the student lunches weren’t free,” Adkins said. 

Although there are many restaurants to choose from, Tam students prefer these restaurants over all the rest.

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