by Nettie Hoagland ’16
Lunchtime, Lincoln Academy. As classrooms empty and the Dining Commons begin to fill, many Lincoln students depart the cafeteria lunch line, migrating toward the newly developed Student Union. Below the Hall House, and a short walk from the math wing, the Student Union provides both distance from the crowded cafeteria and a sense of community within itself. Decorating the interior are restaurant style booths, where students finish their homework or eat their lunches, enjoying one another’s company. Turning the corner is an upper level, with an arrangement of tables and chairs, where students congregate to socialize and do homework.
Smaller than the Dining Commons, the room was designed to seat over 100 students. Behind the counter Robyn Henny of the Health Center and her husband, Facility Manager Briceson Henny, serve students the daily menu. As soon as lunch begins, students line up to grab a slice of pizza or purchase a cold drink.
A popular spot for lunch, the Union serves snacks and breakfast too. Andy Mullen, Associate Head of School, hopes the Union will attract students before class and during passing period. Complete with vending machines and hot coffee, the Union caters to student needs. Though many race to the Union for lunch; fewer have swung by for breakfast. Mullen blames this on a lack of time in the morning, whereas lunch has gained a forty five minute extension. Mullen reports that, “For class attendance and lesson time, breakfast will be difficult to extend.” Nevertheless, as with all additions on campus, he’s sure that the Union will become a popular spot.
With the newly extended lunch period came an open campus policy that allows students to wander campus freely between 11:20 and 12:05. While many remain within the Union, others appreciate its perimeter. As the September heat prevails and the Union begins to fill, many head outside, gathering around shaded tables. With Lincoln’s open-campus lunch, students have the freedom to enjoy the outdoors in one another’s company. After purchasing their lunch from the Union, students can throw around a frisbee or quietly read under a tree.
While in previous years lunchtime was split between upper and lower classmen, all students now share the same a forty five minute period.. Faces fill the campus, blurring the separation between freshmen and senior. Mixing outside, students of each grade enjoy Lincoln’s lunch hour, when they find a sense of independence and community.
Head of Lincoln Academy David Sturdevant and Associate Head Andy Mullen implemented the Student Union with a vision of freedom and convenience for Lincoln students. Populated daily with both students and teachers, the Union is quickly becoming a desired site. Sarah Simmons, (class of 2017) appreciates the Union for its “Nice separation from the cafeteria.” Sarah is a regular, walking down daily with the promise of friends, a seat, and her lunch. Gathered around a table, Shay McClintic, Ben Mank, and Hannah Reed (class of 2017) share their appreciation for the Union and its convenience.
New this fall to Lincoln’s campus, the Union has room for improvement. Many students, such as Nicole Vess (class of 2016) are hoping to see more color and decoration on the walls. This desire for art is shared by Sarah Simmons and Abigail Thompson (class of 2017.) With Lincoln’s strong art department and active National Art Honor Society, the bare walls will surely soon be furnished with color and life. Mullen envisions the Union as a place of comfort and entertainment, hoping to soundproof the interior and welcome student musicians.
Although the Student Union is still a work in progress, , it has gained impressive popularity in a short time. Intern Kelsey Fenwick from USM, impressed with its college feel, took advantage of the Union’s convenience. Enjoyed by many, this recent addition reminds students of the community and freedom that little Lincoln Academy has to offer.
— Nettie Hoagland is a Communications Intern at Lincoln Academy