Future Vendors at Thunderbird Excite Students with Shorter Lines and More Choices


Image courtesy of Daily Journal

Bella Slattery, Staff Writer

Throughout the years at Thunderbird, many school functions and activities have changed. Some helped improve the school and others hindered the school’s fundraising capability. One unnecessary change was the vanishment of school vendors. 

To those unaware, vendors are different food companies that come to schools and sell their products to the students during lunch. Instead of going to the cafeteria and buying a school-produced lunch that does not taste as good, they could buy from familiar vendors that sell delicious food.

The origin of the vendors is unknown, but Mr. Ellington, a former student, and current English teacher who attended Thunderbird 18 years ago was able to experience them. He explains how vendors operated and the positive outcomes that came from the ability to choose the food of the student’s liking. “When I was a student, I remember having Quizno’s, Chic-Fil-A, and Jamba Juice all available during the week at lunch. It was so cool to have a variety of choices, especially from places I would have gone to outside of school anyway.” Having vendors at the school was an easy convenience because people were able to have a wider variety of choices. They could easily choose food that matched their preferences instead of going to the cafeteria where there is a limited selection. 

With the introduction of vendors, Mr. Ellington, also, noticed that “lunch periods were more enjoyable. Thunderbird was set apart from other schools and thought of as a school where students’ choices were valued.” Not only was there more diversity, but students had the opportunity to feel that their opinion mattered. Cafeteria lines were cut down, as well. In return, speeding up the ability to get lunch, giving kids more time to eat rather than stand in line for 10 minutes. 

Thankfully, it has been revealed by a member of STUGO that “vendors will be coming back to the school next year.” Students who did not attend Thunderbird before the pandemic hit will be able to see how vendors work and the positive changes they make. Emma Lunceford, a current freshman at Thunderbird, expresses why she thinks that vendors will benefit her. “I am excited about the return of vendors because I don’t have a lot of time in the morning to make my own lunches but I have money to buy them.” Vendors will be a covenant option for students who want to eat lunch but do not have enough time to make one.

However, the main question is why vendors went away in the first place. Ms. Pavlik, Head of STUGO, clarifies people’s confusion by explaining that “vendors went away because of Covid.” In previous years, when the disease was more infectious, it was deemed unsafe to allow vendors to pass through. Thunderbird administration wanted to limit students’ exposure to the outside world to avoid forced online learning. 

Even though the admin was logical and safe in their decision to postpone vendors, they should have brought them back sooner. Covid cases in 2022 in comparison to 2020 and 2021 are drastically different. John Hopkins School of Public Health states, “in 2022, COVID-19 illness was less severe and less deadly compared to 2020 and 2021, and no new variant has emerged with the capacity to fuel a major wave of cases.” Therefore, it would have been safe for vendors to come to school. The employees could have worn masks, just to be on the safe side.

Another piece of information that Ms. Pavlik had about the postponement of vendors is  that “during lunch, they [Thunderbird administration] said no to vendors because it conflicted with the cafeteria. They wanted to ensure everyone was buying from the cafeteria because last year everyone got free lunches.” Since students were given free lunch in 2021 and part of 2022, the school was not able to gain money in order to fund vendors. The pandemic was continually draining the school’s resources. However, certain fundraisers could have been created in order to help increase the school’s budget. For example, bake sales, raffles, and charity auctions could have been held.

In all, the return of vendors is a beneficial change. It will cut down lunch lines giving students more time to eat, let students have their freedom of choice, and quickly raise money for the school.