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Danny Bailey - 10th Grade
Springfield Township High School; Erdenheim, PA

The race for a spot at the lunch table starts at the end of the second period, the lower house, world language hallway, room 12, Mr. Manga's French class. I wait at the door with my earbuds in my ears, quiet enough to hear the music and the bell. I am ready to dart out the door to speed walk out of the total mayhem that will go down when the bell rings. Slowly I start to hear the ringing of the bell through the loudspeaker. I swing the door open and start my journey to the cafeteria, specifically, "THE LUNCH TABLE." There are twelve seats at the table that not all eighteen of my friends can share, so I need to get there quick enough to get a seat. Once I'm out of French class, I ask myself these questions; Which way do I go? Which route would be faster? Will people be slow today? I make it to the first checkpoint, and I'm faced with the first decisive decision of taking the hallway or cutting through the auditorium to make it to the main entrance. I can see the jammed up L.G.I. hallway from the corner of my eye, so I quickly decide to take the shortcut through the auditorium. I walk through the auditorium, and I see people already sitting and eating with their friends. 

I finally made it to the exit in the auditorium. Now I am stuck with the second decisive and, unquestionably, most vital decision I have to make: navigating the hallways. It's a difficult one because I have to count heads to see which way will be the fastest. If I go right, I will walk by the main entrance and end up in a hallway that can be very hard to steer through traffic because of its narrow structure, especially with the number of kids who go that way. If I go left, I'll pass the library and have to go down the stairwell by the gym hallway. I see more people walking towards the main entrance and the narrow hallway, so I decide to stick with the library route. Ahead of me, I see a group of three kids. Even though there is a group of kids in front of me, I have a clear and open way to the stairwell—no one in front of me and nothing in my way. I walk fast and diligently. I finally made it to the cafeteria! I quickly glance at the table looking at each seat to see if there are open seats. I couldn't believe my eyes. I did everything perfectly. I made the right decisions to get there faster. All twelve seats were already taken!

This simple experience of rushing to lunch is meaningful to me because my friends get me through the hard times, and within this pandemic, being with my friends is something that helps me take my mind off the harsh and awful reality of the current world. My friendship with all my friends is so important because it gives me something to look forward to in school. 

My group of eighteen friends all rushes to one single lunch table in the cafeteria to get a spot at one of the twelve seats. Six of our friends must be left behind every day. Sitting at the table means a whole lunch full of comedic brilliance, fantasy football arguments, and entire table conversation on how annoying schoolwork is. If you are one of the six friends who don't make it in time to get a seat, your lunch is boring, dull, and lacking everything the other table has. The rest of your day will become short-lived and meaningless. There are decisions to be made in life, huge obstacles to maneuver, and unordinary things to see, but above all, those slow and tired high schoolers you have to deal with on your way to the cafeteria. Walking behind a group of kids is like walking behind a snail in slow motion. You can't get caught behind them, or you will miss out on the most important part of your day.