Bishop Munchbury

Lunch in the commons return, bringing back bonds


Campbell Helling, Copy

After almost two years, the infamous “Captain’s quarters” bell is finally ringing in the commons again. The prefects lead the prayers and call the school to attention when it is time for announcements. Seabury lunches, probably among the most iconic of the school traditions, are officially back. 

Faculty member Margie Lawrence describes how she feels about this: “It feels great. . . it’s a way of getting to know the kids that you don’t get a chance to if you don’t teach them.” Because there weren’t any lunch rotations last year, getting to know people outside that group could be challenging. “It’s just so much more fun to be able to talk with them and not be the disciplinarian. [We get to] laugh and joke around the table, and just be [ourselves] without having to have all that responsibility.” When asked about the role that lunches play, Lawrence says it is “Community building . . . it’s building a bridge that you didn’t have before.”

Freshman Eliza Brockhoff shares that same mentality about how lunches affect the Seabury community. “It definitely makes us feel more like a community, like we’re all in one room at once, and we’re actually talking to people we might not speak to otherwise,” she says. “I missed having random conversations . . . we brought up the terrible ‘Is water wet?’ debate again, and it’s just fun to have those sorts of conversations,” she says when asked about the biggest thing she missed about lunches. Although she is glad most of the school has come together again, she says that “I miss the sixth graders; they’re really fun.” 

Regarding the sixth graders, they eat in separate rooms from everyone else and are extra distanced. Sixth grader Oliver Hunt describes the setup:“There’s just two rooms and two groups, and one group goes in one room and the other goes in another, and we had to stay one seat away from each other, but we space out,” he says. “One week we have Mr. Barbour and one week we have Mrs. Barbour. . . they’re very fun to eat lunch with. We usually . . . play games sitting down at our desks and eat normally,” he says when asked about the teachers they eat with. Hunt also describes his enthusiasm for joining the rest of the school in the commons: “I am definitely looking forward to that.”

Faculty member Sara Asher notes how important lunches are to her. “I kind of missed rotating around and seeing everybody. Especially last year, we had to stay in the same place all the time. So I never got to see any of the upper schoolers,” says Asher. “I think we are a better community for lunches. Because we rotate and sit with different people, you get to know different people, probably people you would never talk to otherwise.” What she missed most about lunches was “singing happy birthday to everyone . . . I’m glad they brought birthdays back,” as well as “getting to know people.” Asher conveys a final message to the school: “We need to sit with each other and be with each other.” 

Although most members of Seabury sit in the commons, some others decide to sit in a more spaced-out room. Sophomore Mia Rasmussen is one of these people. “I just think that having a big room with a bunch of people isn’t the smartest idea,” she explains. But, she agrees that lunches are “good for the community.” When it comes to a sense of togetherness in that specific room, she says that “if you’re with a wide variety of people, you can connect with them . . . a lot better because it’s more like a long period of getting to know them vs. like a two week period of getting to know someone.”

Senior Ivan Calderon says that his excitement for the lunches stems from “announcements within the commons during lunch” because they “make us feel way more together. Even though I know not everyone likes them, it’s important to create a little bit more of a community aspect because we have birthdays again, and I think it just develop[s] a little more sense of togetherness.” When asked about how he likes leading a table, Calderon says, “It feels awkward, but it’s nice for me to get to know everyone.” 

After a while of being apart, the bonds are slowly molding back together. “We’re coming back to where we were before but stronger,” Lawrence says. “As long as we observe all the things that we have to to keep ourselves safe, I think it’s absolutely important to keep that sense of community around the table.”