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VIDEO: Growing Together at Ivy Hill’s Fiesta Friday

September 4, 2015

Ivy Hill Elementary – Students entered the lunchroom at Ivy Hill Elementary this afternoon with a different swagger than usual.

Today was Fiesta Fresh Friday meaning the Eagle students would literally taste the fruits of a years’ labor.

“It was fun to see a year of work by the parents and the students come full circle,” Principal Scott Kaese said. “The students were pumped and it was neat to see the parents who helped water and take care of the garden over the summer, come back and enjoy the food too.”

Last year, every student at Ivy helped plant fresh vegetables in the garden located just steps outside the school’s south doors. The Ivy Hill PTA helped maintain the garden throughout the school year and into the summer. Then, AHSD 25’s food service stepped in, preparing 12 gallons (1,536 ounces) of salsa from the same vegetables harvested.

“It was a joy to do because we really want students to understand where their food comes from,” Director of Food Services, Coletta Hines-Newell said. “We want the kids to develop an association to the food that they eat.”

Energy filled the Ivy Hill commons, as students bombarded Principal Kaese and Assistant Principal Stephanie Jimenez with requests for seconds.

“It was great for the students to see how their work from the previous school year could grow into something so delicious and that it came from our own backyard,” Assistant Principal Jimenez said while scooping salsa into individual cups with the help from many PTA volunteers.

Each student was given a cup of salsa and a few Tostitos Simply Natural, corn tortilla chips. This, along with their lunch from the food service line or home, was happily devoured in few minutes, but the conversation of the salsa lived on.

“It’s good because we planted it and it was fresh,” one Ivy Hill third grader said.

“I remember helping with the onions and the tomatoes,” another Eagle student added. “Tomatoes are my favorite vegetable.”

Being involved in making salsa from the ground up gave the students a sense of pride in what they were eating. When asked who wanted to participate in a side interview to talk about the salsa experience, an entire table of students jumped up and down, waiving their arms, hoping to be able to share their excitement.

Students from all grade levels and class sizes bonded over Fiesta Fresh Friday. It took time, patience and effort from everyone in the school to make something so fresh to eat, and at Ivy Hill, they all enjoyed it together.

Video by Tim Higgins

Adam Harris