At Melissa High School, students fret no more about lunch period assignments. Last month the school debuted a “Mega Lunch” where all students in grades 9-12 share the same one-hour lunch period.
Principal Kenneth Wooten focuses on two main goals with Mega Lunch: 1) increasing academic achievement through interventions and tutorials, and 2) helping students find a way to connect with the campus through various clubs and organizations.
During the one-hour period, students can eat lunch and socialize with friends, but they also have the opportunity to join a club, attend tutoring, or spend time in the library. Students decide for themselves how they wish to spend the hour.
“Many of our students are involved in fine arts, athletics, or academic programs, and they don’t have time before and after school to get that extra help from their teachers,” Wooten said. “Or, they don’t have time to attend additional club meetings. Mega Lunch allows them to attend club meetings and meet with teachers as needed.”
Mega Lunch currently operates using a master schedule with a different set of group meetings occurring each day. Teachers have the option of taking a lunch, but many choose to keep their classroom open to students for the full hour.
The school now has over 40 established clubs and organizations, encompassing everything from Student Council and UIL to Robotics, Poetry, Life Enrichment, and Ping Pong. Mr. Wooten expects the number of clubs to continue to grow. New clubs require student interest and an adult to monitor meetings.
“Mega Lunch allows students to take ownership of a grade that they want to improve,” said Kim Boedeker, Executive Director of Academic Leadership at Melissa Schools. “Plus, it’s a great opportunity when building the culture of the campus.”
When students are asked about Mega Lunch, it’s all smiles and affirmatives. Senior Abby Minchey listed five extracurricular activities that she’s involved in, and noted that balancing all of them is only made possible by Mega Lunch.
“I was President of Interact Club last year, and this year we have three times as many people because they actually have the time,” Minchey added. “You can get your homework done and you’re not rushing through your lunch.”
Naturally, not every single student is involved in a club or organization during Mega Lunch, but that’s still a goal for Mr. Wooten and his team.
“We’ve asked students to start new clubs and we’ve had a lot started, but we want more. To those kids that aren’t attending anything, my question to them is ‘Why not?’ Tell me what interests you and let me help you start a club that may last forever.”
Media Contact: Maddie Coe, Community Relations