At the beginning of Mod 2, off-campus lunch privileges were given to 11th graders on Fridays and to 12th graders daily. This means that after signing out, juniors and seniors can head off campus for the lunch period. This time can be used to take a refreshing walk down to the Rose Bowl, or a more fast-paced trek to the nearest Starbucks. However, a couple of things need to be decided before walking around – including if walking is even the way you want to move around. Besides transportation, students need to manage their time wisely and head to local shops that give them enough time to walk there and walk back.
Owen Thomason ’23, went off campus for the first time to eat just a few weeks ago. Thomason shared that his “favorite place to go was Vallarta, specifically the fried chicken aisle.” He also mentioned that there aren’t many feasible options within the time frame because “there isn’t a lot of walkable infrastructure around there, so you know [he’s]riding [his] bike.” Although no motor, electric vehicles, or rideshare is allowed, biking, scootering, and walking are always viable options for off-campus trips.
Another avid off-campus goer is Sookie Orth ’24 who is new to off-campus privileges. During the interview, Orth mentioned a few concerns about the time limit of going off-campus. Regardless, they “understand the pressing [need] to be back to SIP on time.” Because off-campus privileges for juniors are only on Fridays, being back on time for SIP is very important so the privilege won’t be taken away from any individuals. Orth’s “go-to spot is the donut shop in the Vallarta complex because they’re quick, nice, and they’re cheap,” and that they “would go to Blaze, but it takes too long and [they] don’t wanna risk that.” Finally, Orth confidently states their final, brilliant, idea about walking off campus: “[Sequoyah] should count [walking off campus] as a PE credit because I’m like practically running to get back on campus on time.”
Hannah Freeman ’24, another 11th-grade student, shared that she usually doesn’t buy anything, but enjoys walking with some company; “I’ve gone to Vallarta a few times, but usually I don’t buy anything and I just walk with my friends.” Freeman continues about how nice it is to take a break from the school campus. She states that “it’s just nice to be able to get off campus for a bit because sometimes I feel kind of trapped here. I haven’t gone anywhere except by Vallarta yet, but I kind of want to go to Brookside Park once or twice just because it’s nice to just take a break.”
For those that are new to going off-campus, Vallarta is an amazing option for lunches or snacks. With a variety of foods such as sushi, fried chicken, tamales, pastries, and more, Vallarta is never a miss. If you’re looking for other places to eat or hang out in the area, here are some ideas:
- Starbucks – A coffee shop to get a quick fix of some caffeine, pastries, or breakfast sandwiches.
- Blaze Pizza – For the people that love pizza, Blaze is right next to Vallarta. Order ahead is available and recommended if you want to be back on time.
- Brookside Park – A beautiful park next to the Rose Bowl where you can take a scenic walk.
- Subway – Inexpensive sandwiches made to order.
- Ralphs – A supermarket to grab some snacks at.
- Old Town – There are tons of food options around Old Town, but it’s highly recommended to not walk (unless you are an extremely fast walker), and to bike or scooter instead. It’s a longer distance than other places so it might be difficult to make it back on time.