“Bring a Friend to Lunch” brings students, community together

One day each month, the cafeteria at Golden Hill Elementary School is the most popular lunch spot in town.
Sure, the wraps are always fresh, the milk is perfectly chilled, and the chicken nuggets are exceptionally tasty, but it’s not just the kid-friendly fare that draws a crowd. It’s the company, and the school’s monthly “Bring a Friend to Lunch” day is a years-long tradition that is also one of the most popular and beloved events at Golden Hill.

A father and son share lunch together in the elementary cafeteria
At Golden Hill’s “Bring a Friend to Lunch” event, many students invite a parent.

“There are times when we have to bring out extra tables and get more chairs,” said Principal Debbi Lisack. “It’s about building the community and families coming together, and it’s really wonderful.”
On Oct. 17, fifth graders were welcome to invite someone to join them for lunch in the school cafeteria, and virtually every seat at every table was taken. Some students brought a parent or grandparent, others asked to dine with a teacher or family friend.
Each month throughout the school year a different grade gets a Bring a Friend to Lunch day. For the fifth graders – who next year heads to S.S. Seward Institute – the October lunch was their last.


Two elementary boys and two teachers share lunch in the elementary cafeteria
Some students invite their favorite teachers to Golden Hill’s “Bring a Friend to Lunch.”

“This is our fifth year,” said Frank Gooler, who was having a wrap with his son, Matthew. He first had lunch at school with Matthew back when his boy was in kindergarten, and he’s never missed a year.
Mr. Gooler said he likes getting to share part of his son’s day, and it’s also an opportunity to meet some of Matthew’s school pals. “It’s important to be involved in your kids’ education,” he said, “I’m always in the school.”
Angelica Lopez invited her mom, Guadalupe, to the fifth-grade lunch, sharing a big round cafeteria table with about 8 other students and guests. Angelica’s favorite part of Bring a Friend to Lunch Day?
“We get to spend time with our family.”

An elementary girl and her mother at a cafeteria lunch table
“Bring a Friend to Lunch” is also special family time for students.