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Middle-schoolers taste, vote on cafeteria item contenders

Eighth-graders Yolanda Mencho, left, and Anelise Interiano discuss which food items they liked and didn’t

Godwin Heights — It was election day at Godwin Middle School, but instead of candidates, students cast their votes for which food items they would like to see on the school lunch menu.

Student Choice is a program offered by Chartwells, the district’s food service provider. It is designed to give students a voice on what they would like to have on the school menu, said Godwin Heights Food Director Jamie Schumaker.

Through the program, students have an opportunity to learn about foods and flavors in hopes they’ll be excited about school menu options, Schumacher said.

A Chartwells team of visiting chefs, dietitians and marketing members served three options: Chaat House, an Indian dish of chicken and rice on naan bread; Bok Choy, an Asian dish inspired by Food Network’s Chef Jet Tila that featured a cold broccoli salad with chicken; and smoothies in mixed berry, pineapple/orange and mango/strawberry flavors.

Schumaker said students voted on different concepts in the fall, and the top three items were served on voting day in March. Members of the student council helped at the polls.

Polls Now Open

At 10:50 a.m. the polls, or rather the lunchroom, opened. Students filed in first to get their lunches, then swung through a line to pick up samples of the three food offerings.

Sixth-graders Sophi Stanton, Adalynn Richardson and Analee Ellis, said they all liked the Chaat House Indian dish, mostly because of the chicken. 

“I like the smoothies because of the fruits, and I like a lot of the fruits,” said seventh-grader Israel Tru.

Seventh-grader Bella Parra said the smoothie tasted better to her than the other options and predicted that her twin sister, Gabriela, who had the second lunch period, would vote for the smoothie as well — which Gabriela did.

There was a lone outlier: “I like them all,” said sixth-grader Iza Sosa-Martinez. “I like the meat and rice in the Indian dish, the broccoli in the Asian dish and the fruit in the smoothie.”

The Final Results

After the first lunch, early polls showed Chaat House leading with 54% of the vote, followed by the smoothies, with 37%; and Bok Choy at 7%.

In the end, smoothies made a substantial gain with 46% of the vote. Chaat House was second, with 44%; and Bok Choy trailed with just 9% of the vote.

Schumaker said because the smoothies and the Chaat House were so close, both items are planned to be on the school menu in the next couple of months. 

Read more from Godwin Heights: 
Sixth-graders travel the world… from their classroom
Family members and heroes honored through art project

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Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma is a reporter covering Kent ISD, Godwin Heights, Kelloggsville, Forest Hills and Comstock Park. The salutatorian for the Hartland Public Schools class of 1985, she changed her colors from blue and maize to green and white by attending Michigan State University, where she majored in journalism. Joanne moved to the Grand Rapids area in 1989, where she started her journalism career at the Advance Newspapers. She later became the editor for On-the-Town magazine, a local arts and entertainment publication. Her eldest daughter is a nurse, working in Holland, and her youngest attends Oakland University. Both are graduates from Byron Center High School. She is a volunteer for the Van Singel Fine Arts Advisory Board and the Kent District Library. In her free time, Joanne enjoys spending time with her family, checking out local theater and keeping up with all the exchange students they have hosted through the years. Read Joanne's full bio


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