Easy as 1, 2, 3

Seann Abuan memorizes students lunch numbers


Photo: Jillian Lee

Seann Abuan enters a teacher’s lunch number when paying for food.

Since the start of the 2022-2023 school year, front house manager Seann Abuan has memorized certain student’s lunch numbers when buying snacks and food from the Commons Cafe. Throughout seven months, Abuan said he memorized half of the student’s numbers in both the middle and upper school.
There are a few things that make students and their numbers stand out, according to Abuan.
“Personal interactions, I remember talking to Ashley [Santiago], and she immediately started joking with me right off the bat,” Abuan said. “I immediately memorized her number.”
Seventh grader Ashley Santiago remembers the encounter.
“After that, I would show him what I got and started going up to him and telling him about my day,” Santiago said.
Frequency is also a common way Abuan memorizes lunch numbers. People like eighth grader Maya Le, who repeatedly gets the same drink every single day, are easier to remember.
“He always used to ask me, ‘Is it actually good?’ or ‘Why do you get it everyday?’” Le explained. “He kind of recognized me as that person that gets that drink.”
Abuan said he has all the teachers and staff lunch numbers memorized to make it easy to pay for their food
“When the line is busy during lunch, a lot of times they just make eye contact with me so I know their number and they can just get about their day,” Abuan said.
Sometimes, Abuan will just know the student’s number, rather than their name. When After School Supervisor Phoenix Lim-Bassallo showed Abuan a video of the middle school Grand Day performance Abuan said, “Oh, you’re dancing with [student’s lunch number] and she’s like, ‘Who?’”
Le had a similar idea.
“If I were him, I wouldn’t need to know people’s names. I would just know them by their numbers,” she said.
Santiago enjoys talking to Abuan between classes. Because he is not a teacher, it is easier to sympathize with the workload.
“It’s just cool to talk to someone who understands students,” Santiago said. “Whatever I tell him, he’ll be empathetic.”