The Table Wars

An unspoken but universally known rule was that each grade level had a predetermined area in the cafeteria they could sit in: the freshmen and sophomores downstairs, the juniors near the front of the top floor of the caf, and the seniors in the back near Subway and Baja Fresh. What was not predetermined was who got which table.

The SAS cafeteria has always been cramped no matter which grade you were in. This has prompted groups of friends to consequently “claim their territory.” There was not exactly a shortage of tables for everyone, but a lunch table must be in the perfect location with the perfect space for everyone. This was easier said than done. As a result, the Table Wars has been established as an infamously recurring event at SAS.

Contrary to popular belief, a high schooler is seldom remembered for any academic, service, or athletic achievements. Rather, it is by where he or she sat in the cafeteria that a student will be remembered for years to come.  The senior year right-of-passage entails a final claim of territory to really make your mark in high school.

August 9th 2016. The day before school began. There was a compacted crowd huddled outside the high school steps. A row of tents was set up, occupied by anxious high schoolers camping overnight to ensure they would be the first to make the claim.   

August 10th 2016. The first day of senior year. It was 4:36 AM when the first senior year student arrived, sprinting into the cafeteria to claim the senior table right in the middle of the coveted zone. She was relieved to see the table was still empty and flung her bag and water bottle onto one side of the table. She was saved. The table was hers.

“Contrary to popular belief, a high schooler is seldom remembered for any academic, service, or athletic achievements. Rather, it is by where he or she sat in the cafeteria that a student will be remembered for years to come.”

It was not until an hour later when the rest of the students began to arrive, wide eyes scanning the cafeteria for the empty table they wanted. The tents set up outside the high school quickly were packed up as more and more students raced onto the battlefield. Down below, freshmen began fighting for the booths. They were the only grade that brought any sort of school supplies with them, and angrily flung pencils and newly bought notebooks at each other, threatening to shred each other’s ironed bright-orange freshmen polos. The border between the Freshmen Section© and Sophomore Section© was filled with tension as it is every year.  The Sophomore Border Guards bravely stood their ground, making sure no feral freshmen dared cross the frontier into their territory.

The juniors were considerably more chill than their sophomore and freshmen counterparts. It did not really matter where they sat since they finally made it to the Top Floor. They had already gone through the blood, sweat, and tears of fighting for a table in the past two years of their life, and now they could simply observe (from upstairs) the war zone developing below.

The seniors, however, did not fight with anyone (except for themselves). Some may say the Table War was the worst among The Seniors©.  It is because the strategies of The Claim are carefully considered all the way from freshmen year.  At the end of a freshman’s MAP test, in fact, there is one question that displays a layout of the entire cafeteria, and each warrior must pick a particular area as the Holy Grail of destinations and the coveted spot to lay his or her claim during senior year.

The Senior Table War of 2016 was as vicious as any Senior Table War, as more and more groups of students fought to secure their table, kicking out other groups if necessary. The Morning Claim was only a precursor to the Official Claim, however, which began at 11:35 AM, as the SAS bell rang to signify lunch. The ultimate rule was if you secured the table during the hectic lunch period, the table was yours.

Beating out IASAS tournaments and prom, the 2016 Table War reigns as SAS’s  indisputably most talked-about event.  Until 2017, of course.

table-wars
The battleground known as the SAS Cafeteria.   Photo: Namrata Ray & Shack

Author: Namrata Ray

This is Namrata’s second year on the Eye! Currently a senior, she’s better known as Nimi and is originally from Dallas, Texas. This is her fourth year at SAS and in Singapore. She enjoys playing tennis and eating chocolate lava cakes. Namrata can be contacted at ray45882@sas.edu.sg.

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