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MANNMay08p40-45Edu.qxd

4/23/08

10:53 AM

Page 40

Well-balanced Education

  • By Michelle Powe

E E v e r y s u m m e r t h o u s a n d s o f M a n s f i e l d c h i l d r e n l i k e m i l l i o n s o f c h i l d r e n a r o u n d t h e n a t i o n l o o k f o r w a r d t o s u m m e r v a c a t i o n . T h e y d r e a m a b o u t g o i n g t o t h e p o o l , p l a y i n g b a l l a n d h a n g i n g o u t w i t h f r i e n d s . M o s t , h o w e v e r , d o n o t w o r r y a b o u t w h e t h e r t h e y w i l l g e t e n o u g h t o e a t d u r i n g t h e d a y . F o r 3 0 p e r c e n t o f M a n s f i e l d I S D s t u d e n t s , g o i n g t o s c h o o l m e a n s g e t t i n g b r e a k f a s t a n d l u n c h , b e c a u s e t h o s e 8 , 9 0 0 s t u d e n t s r e c e i v e f r e e o r reduced-price meals through the School Breakfast and Lunch Programs.

The good news for many is that meal benefits continue during summer school. “And for many of these kids, breakfast and lunch is the happiest time of the day,” said Jay Towell, director of MISD Student Nutrition. “So we want to make meal time as positive and fun as possible.” Keeping all 29,000 Mansfield ISD students happy and providing them the nutritious, appetizing meals are Jay’s passion. “My first rule is if you don’t love children, then I can’t work with you,” he added. “Kids are our

business.” That is one reason he takes exception with the Hollywood stereotype of the dour lunch lady in a hair net dishing slop onto trays. There are no dour lunch ladies in Jay’s cafeterias. He is proud to say he hires only friendly, caring people (in hair nets) to serve the students. Like Jay, they are passionate about the children they serve. “Smiling is a requirement,” Jay said, smiling. In this fast-paced world, with so many working parents, school breakfasts and lunches are the best and most well-balanced meals that many children get. “We’re so commercial

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MansfieldNOW May 2008

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