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'We have the meats': Arby's surprises Fargo seniors who chant the franchise's tagline

Fargo Shanley High School seniors enjoy their lunch break courtesy of Arby's on Tuesday, May 21. David Samson / The Forum1 / 3
Fargo Shanley High School seniors react Tuesday, May 21, to the announcement voiced by actor Ving Rhames that they will receive a lunch sponsored by Arby's. David Samson / The Forum2 / 3
Shanley High School Student Council President Mary Noah reacts after being informed that the senior class was getting a free lunch from Arby's on Tuesday, May 21. David Samson / The Forum3 / 3

FARGO — What seemed like another pre-graduation meeting on Tuesday, May 21, turned into the surprise of (perhaps) their entire high school career for seniors at Shanley High School.

After a few announcements by Mike Hagstrom, president of the JPII Catholic Schools system that includes the private Shanley in south Fargo, students were shocked to hear a familiar voice echo through the auditorium.

"Students of Shanley High School," said a recording of Ving Rhames, the voice behind commercials for Arby's. "Word has gotten back to Arby's that several of you 'have the meats.' In fact — you have the meats so much that you can't help but yell it everywhere you go. So to thank you for your very odd traditions, Arby's sent food your way."

Last October, Student Council President Mary Noah sent an email to Arby's corporate officials describing an unusual shared tradition by Shanley seniors — chanting the Arby's tagline, "Arby's... We have the meats" — as well as a glowing review written last fall by one of her classmates and published in their school newspaper.

As a thank you to the students, Arby's President Rob Lynch enlisted the help of Carisch Inc., the owners and operators of Arby's franchises in the Midwest and Florida.

"Arby's corporate contacted us and said they got this great letter from Mary Noah," said Fred Stauber, president of Carisch. "They shared the letter and asked if we wanted to get involved, and we said absolutely."

In addition to providing the students with Arby's roast beef sandwiches, chips, cookies and drinks on Tuesday, Carisch also rewarded Noah's enthusiasm with a year of free Arby's.

"It's so unexpected," Noah said. "I didn't think anything would come of it. I didn't even know if it was the right email! I thought, 'This is so funny. Arby's would think this is funny,' so I went for it. I thought nothing of it, but it's something that affected our grade a lot."

Noah said the origin of chanting the famous tagline is unknown, but it's evolved into a Shanley tradition that these students will remember long after graduation on Wednesday, May 22.

"It's funny because it's something so little, but the company took it as a compliment," Noah said. "It's a win-win-win situation. We love Arby's, you guys love Arby's and now we all have Arby's."