Amongst the blooming plants and swarming insects that lay claim to a sprawling green space in Southwest Houston, stood the youngest of instructors who was developing a buzz all her own.
In her final weeks as a senior at Lamar High School, Lisa Rollinson was tapped to lead educational workshops for nearly two dozen students at the Food and Agriculture Literacy Center at Mykawa Farm.
As one of just five experts selected for the job, Rollinson received the honor after being designated by the Texas Department of Agriculture as one of 12 Health Ambassadors for a Ready Texas. The designation recognizes teens who advocate for healthy lifestyles.
Nearly two dozen students craned their necks to see the green plants and bright, booming flowers as their buses arrived Wednesday at the Food and Agriculture Literacy Center at Mykawa Farm.
As they got off the bus, they bounded toward a hollowed-out tree trunk, eager to visit the workstations designed to help them connect classroom science to real-life agriculture, nutrition, and the natural world.
“We’re here today to share with you how food comes from the soil and ends up on your plate,” said Marcus Glenn, Area Manager for Nutrition Services Food and Agriculture Literacy.
The Food and Agriculture Literacy Center at Mykawa Farm is a working educational farm that integrates nutrition and food science with core curriculum to provide students with hands-on learning experiences.
Nearly 1,200 cars and trucks looped around Barnett Stadium under a blazing sun, waiting for their final distribution of family food and household supplies from the Neighborhood Supersite at Barnett Stadium.
First in line was father of seven Enrique Alvarado, who said he was thankful for the support because the pandemic had negatively impacted his job.
“I am grateful that my children were able to get food, especially milk,” he said.
HISD Nutrition Services launched its community food distribution program last March, just days after the district had to close its doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dozens of Nutrition Services employees gathered by black tents as cars snaked through the parking lot at Barnett Stadium – a Neighborhood Supersite where families can pick up student meals, family food boxes, and household supplies.
But this Wednesday, the team was surprised with a proclamation from Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner designating Friday, May 7, 2021 as HISD National School Lunch Hero Day.
“Today, we celebrate Nutrition Services employees,” Interim Co-Chief Operating Officer Eugene Salazar said as he presented the proclamation. “This proclamation acknowledges your outstanding achievements and unwavering dedication to families and students in our community.”
First-grader Nidarshani Chinthagunta gasped and her eyes widened as a bright turquoise bike adorned with white balloons was wheeled into the T.H. Rogers conference room where she stood sandwiched between her mother and school principal.
Grabbing the 20-inch Titan Tomcat by the seat and handlebars, she carefully eyed the new bike as she whispered a shy, “thank you.”
Nidarshani was one of two grand prize winners in the district’s “Blast Off with a Healthy School Breakfast” art contest held in honor of National School Breakfast Week in March.
More than 60 students submitted original artwork using the breakfast theme. A panel of judges from the district’s Nutrition Services and Fine Arts departments selected the top winners at the elementary and secondary levels.
As students begin to think about the future, Nutrition Services Culinary Educator Brittany Jones is working to ensure they’re equipped with a key ingredient for success — the basics of cooking.
Chef Jones is one of two educators who teach “Get Growing Houston” classes at Attucks Middle School and Worthing Early College High School. The 10-week classes were piloted at the schools to help students learn the importance of good nutrition and the fundamentals of cooking.
A steady wind churned gray clouds across the sky as dozens of HISD families lined up Thursday outside the Chestnut Hill Apartments office, waiting to pick up student meals for their children.
HISD’s Nutrition Services regularly delivers to this Southwest Houston apartment complex — and 24 others — to provide meals to virtual learning students whose families can’t get to curbside distributions.
With students back in class after winter break, Nutrition Services is re-starting its weekly Neighborhood Supersite community distribution program to ensure HISD students and families have continued access to good food.
The January supersites will kick off on Wednesday, Jan 6, at Barnett Stadium from 2 to 6 p.m. Another three supersites will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 9 at Hattie Mae White and Hexser T. Holliday Food Services support centers and Sugar Grove Academy.
All sites provide seven days’ worth of student meals and family food boxes from the Houston Food Bank.
Lunchtime for Tracey Crawley’s first-grade class looks a bit different these days.
Instead of eating in a bustling cafeteria, the Gregory-Lincoln Education Center students now have lunch delivered directly to their classroom. Though different, it’s something the students still look forward to — especially on chicken nuggets day.
“It’s like second nature now,” Crawley said about her students’ new lunch model and safety protocols. “The atmosphere is set for them. The food is always on time. Our team has done a great job in making it an easy process.”