Students dance, play games at Nutrition Services Fall Tailgates

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A large group of energetic Holland Middle School students danced alongside their teachers in the school cafeteria last week, while others played Connect 4 and cornhole.

Other students streamed through the lunch line — decorated with white and blue balloons — as cafeteria staff handed out bright green water bottles to students.

The event was a part of a Fall Tailgate series hosted by HISD’s Nutrition Services department. In its second year, the Fall Tailgates are designed to get students excited about school lunch and encourage them to select healthier meal options.

“I love seeing the enjoyment on the kids’ faces. They really feel like we’re doing something special for them,” Operations Manager DeWayne Rawls said.

Holland sixth-grade science teacher Yolanda Barber said she thought the party was a great idea.

“I love it when students have an opportunity to enjoy and socialize during their lunch,” Barber said.

Holland seventh-grader Alianna Najera said she saw sixth-graders leaving the event and hoped her classmates would be allowed to participate as well.

“I’m having a lot of fun,” Najera said. “I like how it was a surprise.”

The week prior, a tailgate party was held at Sam Houston Math, Science, and Technology Center where hundreds of students wearing elaborate mums and boutonnieres for homecoming, gathered in the courtyard to kick off their celebration.

High school students gathered next to the speakers set up by a DJ from local radio station 97.9 The Box as they danced the Cupid Shuffle. Smaller groups sat at picnic tables, eating hot dogs, chicken wings, apple slices, and corn on the cob.

Sam Houston sophomore Myriam Cruz said she felt very lucky that her school was chosen.

“I was having kind of a boring Friday, but this is really fun,” Cruz said. “It’s making me wish I could stay for all lunches.”

Other tailgates have been held at Lawson, Deady, and Ortiz middle schools, Baylor College of Medicine Academy at Ryan, DeBakey High School for Health Professions, Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy, and Kashmere and Sterling Aviation high schools, and Sam Houston Math, Science, and Technology Center.

Six more tailgates will be held through November at Pershing, Henry, and Meyerland middle schools and Carnegie Vanguard, South Early College and Sharpstown high schools.