Lunch ‘n’ Learn: Program aimed at exploring new, fascinating topics

Callie Bollinger

Learning and discovering has been a concept pursued throughout history, and the desire to know more about the universe has propelled humanity through time and space. Whether it be about the molecular structure of carbon dioxide or the development of a new technology, students have continued to show a high level of intrigue and thirst for knowledge.

IB Coordinator Sarah Patterson came up with the idea of Lunch ‘n’ Learn to help students explore areas outside the standard curriculum that are interesting but never have enough time to delve into.

“The idea stemmed from me thinking about all the neat connections and backstories that I never had time to include or discuss from my days as a science teacher,” Patterson said. “I was certain that other teachers had interesting topics to share as well and wanted to promote a love of learning.”

U.S. history teacher Kristen Runyen is equally excited about Lunch ‘n’ Learn for students, but is especially excited about learning new things herself. 

“Lunch ‘n’ Learn is a place where teachers can give fun, extracurricular lessons on special topics,” Runyen said. “For my Lunch n’ Learn presentation, I talked about the rise of deep fake videos. These are videos that appear to be real or have actually happened, but are fabricated. We discussed how deep fakes could be misleading and could make someone appear to say something they actually did not.” 

Junior Stuart Hay initially attended Lunch ‘n’ Learn out of obligation, but now attends out of enjoyment. 

“What first drew me to Lunch ‘n’ Learn was that I was able to get extra credit, but then I actually started to enjoy it and kept attending,” Stuart said. “It makes lunch a little more entertaining because I can learn something outside of my core classes. The topics are something you can’t specifically look up, but someone who knows what they are talking about can teach it to you.”

Senior Eila Teizer was curious about Lunch ‘n’ Learn and is glad that she attended as it provided challenges . 

“Lunch ‘n’ Learn provided me with the opportunity to get a sneak peek into topics and classes I never had the opportunity to look into,” Eila said. “In a way, it forces me to learn about something completely new. With the classes that I take at school, I chose to take them, so they already interest me, but with Lunch ‘n’ Learn I learn about topics that never interested me, or so I thought. Because of this, I learn about myself as well, like what interests I have that I just never had the opportunity to test out.”

Eila concludes that Lunch ‘n’ Learn has been truly instructive and has taught her additional information about topics she thought she knew all about.

“I truly enjoyed the computer science Lunch n’ Learn because I realized that I really liked computer science,” Eila said. “I wish I had realized this earlier because if I had, I would have taken a computer science class. Learning about how Alexa works and how the data from Alexa is gathered and used was extremely insightful. I definitely wish this had started earlier.”

Lunch ‘n’ Learn has grown since it was established, and anybody who wants to attend is welcome. Lunch ‘n’ Learn helps students and staff to grow in knowledge, no matter what the topic is and the plan for future presentations includes having students present.

“It has steadily grown as word has gotten out,” Patterson said. “At the beginning, there was the misconception that these were only for IB students, but these are for anyone who wants to learn something new. Lunch ‘n’ Learn promotes thoughtfulness and being knowledgeable – no tests, no grades attached, just learning.”