HOISINGTON — Hoisington High School student Chaz Stephens was hungry one day, and he and fellow classmate Drew Reisner along with Principal Meg Wilson brain-stormed a plan last fall to begin serving healthy snacks at a reasonable cost to students mid-morning. The students are finding that good nutrition makes a difference.
Last Friday, swarms of students crowded around the snack table to purchase homemade muffins, cheese sticks, beef jerky, yogurt or water during the break between classes. The yogurt tubes and cheese sticks were 50 cents, but everything else was 25 cents.
And the students like the snacks, too. "I think they’re very good," said Jacob Durrett, student.
The snacks are sold every day. "They (the students) were getting grouchy by lunch time," said Karla Reisner, teacher and sponsor of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America. "We said they needed affordable, healthy snacks." No items such as pop are served.
The program of eating healthier was begun in mid-September, and is coordinated and run by Stephens and Drew in Independent Study, with the assistance of Karla and other class members.
"We’ve seen a difference in kids and it gets them through to lunch," said Karla.
The class has brought in $4400 and has spent $4100 since the program began. Although the idea was not to make a profit, any proceeds go into the FCCLA fund for state meetings.
The students have noticed a difference in how they feel, too. "The kids themselves have said I’ll go for the fruit instead of cookies," said Karla. Occasionally the FCCLA class will have fun stuff like no-bake cookies.
The item that is most popular is the ranch oyster crackers. "We can’t make enough," said Karla.
She does the shopping for the food, purchasing as much as is possible locally.
During Independent Study class, Stephens and Drew do a budget for the week, plan the snacks and make a list of what will be served each day. It has resulted in a great learning tool for the boys in time management and responsibility. In addition, Drew has an additional outreach project for the Miracle Network. He sells hot chocolate or refills on water bottles. He has raised $100.
Stephens and Drew will use the snack project in FCCLA competitions, called Students Taking Action with Recognition. They will give a report at the district competition in Plainville. Depending on the outcome, they may proceed on to the state competition.
Although Stephens ended up in the Independent Study class with a bit of a snafu, he said that he has always loved to cook and even looked into becoming a chef. Now his plans are to get a business degree and work in his parents’ business. Drew plans to go into stage engineering.