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    • Students line up outside of the servery for the 2018 Jack Lubin Grilled Cheese Extravaganza.

    • Seniors enjoy grilled-cheese sandwiches on the patio.

Hopkins Rallies Around Grilled Cheese

Katherine Takoudes ’20
On May 17, 2019, the Hopkins community rallied around the dining staff for the twelfth annual Jack Lubin Grilled Cheese Extravaganza.
The lunch, which recently turned into a day long celebration, features grilled cheese sandwiches, a vegetarian roasted tomato soup, curly fries, and steamed broccoli.

The tradition started twelve years ago when Jack Lubin ’12 was a player on the Junior School Baseball team coached by Assistant Head of School John Roberts.

Every year since, Hopkins students listen to Roberts recount the story in the Assembly on the morning of Grilled Cheese Day. Roberts explains how every day during Junior School baseball practice - the period before lunch - Lubin would ask Roberts if there was grilled cheese for lunch that day. In 2007, Roberts informally named Grilled Cheese Day after Lubin to commemorate his energy and enthusiasm for grilled cheese. Now, twelve years and thousands of grilled cheeses later, the day earned the title Jack Lubin Grilled Cheese Day Extravaganza.

Last year, Hopkins was honored with a visit from Lubin, who spoke in Assembly and ate plenty of grilled cheese sandwiches in the Dining Hall. Senior Ashley Chin ’19 described his appearance as “iconic.” “He’s a Hopkins hero,” she said, “someone we all aspire to be.”

The dining staff put in hours of work to prepare this year’s grilled cheese sandwiches, which were quickly consumed by students in a matter of hours. Director of Dining Services Mike King explained that the dining staff begins training for the day months before May: “We have numerous staff meetings, training sessions, team building events and every year at least two of my staff travel to Kohler, Wisconsin to study cheese grilling techniques, product identification and grilled cheese history.”

Over the past few years, the lunch transitioned from a meal of grilled cheeses to a day long celebration that earned the title of an “extravaganza.” Julia An ’21 said the day owned up to its title by “the sheer amount of grilled cheeses made that day.” Pearl Miller ’22 agreed and explained that “grilled cheese is only served once a year and curly fries are a rare occurrence, so when they are served together, it is no wonder that we all get so excited.” King broke down the numbers behind the extravaganza: “the dining staff prepared 1400 sandwiches, using about 120lbs of the highest quality natural pure organic, sustainable and conflict-free American cheese and 140 loaves of the healthiest white bread available.”
With hundreds of kids lining up outside of the doors to the Dining Hall, students shared their tricks for getting the best grilled cheeses. Once inside the servery, Ian Dailis ’20 explained that the “standards of civilization cease and Darwinism takes over because everyone just wants to get as many of the curly fries and grilled cheeses as possible . ” Ann suggested her method of “getting a squad together and arriving to the dining hall early. One person fills a plate of curly fries while another gets the grilled cheeses. Then the table shares the fries and grilled cheeses.” Alessandro Amoedo ’20 said he “typically goes to the middle line, which is often shorter because the line is capped at the end by the sandwich bar.”

In recent years, the dining staff has cel- ebrated Grilled Cheese Day by giving students the option to take their grilled cheese outside with paper plates and places to sit on the quad. King summed up the final moments of the extravagan-za: “At the end of the day we clean the last remaining strands of melted cheese off the walls, high five and group hug, and go home for the weekend. On Monday, the planning for next year’s Annual Jack Lubin Grilled Cheese Extravaganza begins again in earnest. This we do, for you.”
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