At some high schools, ultra-studious students have to be required to break for lunch, reports the New York Times.
BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. â€” High school students in this well-to-do Westchester suburb pile on four, five, even six Advanced Placement classes to keep up with their friends. They track their grade-point averages to multiple decimal places and have longer rÃ©sumÃ©s than their parents.
â€œI would never put lunch before work,â€ says Elaine Rigney, a junior at Briarcliff. She intends to work through the new period.
But nearly half the students at Briarcliff High School have packed their schedules so full that they do not stop for lunch, prompting administrators to rearrange the schedule next fall to require everyone to take a 20-minute midday break. They will extend each school day and cut the number of minutes each class meets over the year.
The principal hopes the 20 minute break will ease the stress.
This year, 12 percent of Briarcliffâ€™s 665 students have no free periods, while an additional 30 percent have classes the entire time the cafeteria is open.
Some lunch skippers eat in class; others don’t eat at all.
When I was in high school, I avoided the cafeteria, which was dirty and noisy. I’d bring a sandwich and eat it quietly in a study area, careful to avoid notice. Later, when the student lounge opened, I often consumed a Tab and two packs of M&M’s for lunch. I’d get a hunger headache a few hours later, which I’d cure with a bowl of soup when I got home. Well into my twenties, my first response to a headache was to eat rather than take aspirin. And now I’m diabetic. I should have eaten more M&M’s when I had the chance.
All Work and No Play Still Might Not Get Jack into Harvard, writes Anne Applebaum on Slate.