Catalina Spirit at the Toast and Hot Drink Bars by Hope Sallee

As the days grow colder and we all bundle up in our various degrees of sweaters and scarves alike, to some, it may seem like there is a lack of spirit on the Santa Catalina campus. Yet, I believe that there is abundant joy found in two places every day: the toast and drink bars. At any given moment within the cafeteria, students can be seen flocking to the two stations in hopes of acquiring their favorite varieties of bread, coffee, and tea. Some choose a classic Nutella toast, while others expand their horizons to the rare, everything bagel. But no matter their choice, it quickly becomes evident that the areas have become a vital part of the Santa Catalina culture. After asking freshman Yunah Baek ‘26, who can regularly be seen with tea in hand, how the drink bar impacts her daily school life, Yunah answered quite simply that her tea is “ partly emotional support” while simultaneously providing the small dose of energy that we all sometimes need. When asked how many times, on average, she gets coffee or tea from the cafeteria per week, senior Wendy Liu ‘23 responded without hesitation: “ Fourteen to twenty-one times.” For those with dietary restrictions such as lactose intolerance or a gluten allergy, a simple sanctuary can be found within the parameters of the toast bar and its many spreads. As Miriam Riley ‘23 points out, “it gives another option for something to eat in the dining room like toast, a bagel, or a peanut butter and jelly.” Miriam also states that her favorite memories of the toast bar tie into those of another sacred Catalina space, the frozen yogurt machine: “my friends and I will have someone stay in line while one of us puts Nutella in the cones.” Despite the lack of recognition, these beloved areas receive in our daily lives, I think it is safe to say that, as a whole, the student body cherishes the products of the stations and the memories that come with them. Ultimately, though, the severe need for sugar and caffeine may be present in any and all high school students as final exams draw nearer; it becomes clear that the emotional attachment to the spaces themselves may nearly surpass our desire for the treats they hold.