Gazette/GBT.org illustration/SIDNEY ZABELL
Bitter isn’t a trait we often use to describe the staff here at Granite Bay High. Yet a lunch time gang of teachers prefers to eat together under the curious title, “The Bitter Boys.”
Each day, the group gathers to eat and socialize during the 30 minutes of first lunch.
The boys began to meet around the years 2000 and 2001.
According to GBHS government teacher Jarrod Westberg, it was a place where some teachers would come together to chat.
“Actually it was history teachers and English teachers,” Westberg said. “Pretty much all the guys that came in around the same time.”
The Bitter Boys have grown over the years as new teachers arrive.
“It just evolved into (what it is today). I mean now it’s (about) 10, 11, 12 of us … who have been eating here for years.”
Other Bitter Boys members said the clan’s origin is older than the high school itself.
Mathematics teacher Scott Becker said that the Bitter Boys’ tradition is passed down through generations.
“It’s actually a heritage, I guess is what you would say,” Becker said, with his tongue metaphorically poking into his cheek. “It’s actually a long-standing branch of the Free-Masons, back from you know, early colonial times.”
The intriguing title “The Bitter Boys” is also surrounded by rumors and suspicion. Westberg said the name was given to the group, and it caught on.
“It was administration who gave it to us, if I remember correctly.” Westberg said. “It just kind of grew out of … a joke. We never called ourselves that, someone else did, and then it just kind of took on a life of its own.”
AP European history teacher Mike Valentine, who started eating lunch with the boys only this year, said he thinks the birth of the name has more ominous roots.
“I don’t know, an offshoot of the Illuminati or something like that.” Valentine said, with a subtle smirk.
More than a decade of eating lunch together has resulted in quite a few memories.
Westberg recounted amusing days when substitute teachers would end up teaching in the Bitter Boys’ designated classroom for lunch. Today, the designated classroom is Westberg’s room.
“Our funniest memories are walking into one of the other teacher’s rooms, and a sub is there,” Westberg said. “We didn’t say anything. We all just sat down and carried on with our lunch (while) the substitute sat there for the whole time, uncomfortable for like 40 minutes.”
While these memories are clear for some of the Bitter Boys, others are not able to recall them. Becker said he has no memory at all of the lunches.
“Actually the memories of all the members get wiped, so there aren’t really memories, per se, of the group,” Becker said with a smile. “It’s part of what you sign on for.”
Ultimately, while some of the group’s antics are questionable, the Bitter Boys are only a group of teachers who eat together every day.
These teachers, boys and girls, don’t give off the impression they are bitter, but rather grateful for the time they spend together.
Westberg agrees that the group is not bitter, but fun.
“Well we’re not angry, we actually enjoy each other’s company,” Westberg said.
Westberg also said the group is growing.
“The umbrella has gotten much larger over the years,” Westberg said.
The Bitter Boys will foreseeably continue to spend lunches together during the school years to come. According to Valentine, the group is capable of great things.
“The fate of the world rests in the decisions coming out of Westberg’s room.” Valentine said. “The fate of the world.”