Hospital food, continental breakfasts, school lunches. To be frank, this is not a list of dining halls on the top of most peoples lists when it comes to satisfying their hunger.
The latter was discussed during a recent Dunkirk City School Board of Education meeting when student board member Elizabeth Campese presented the board with the results from the student lunch survey.
"The students were given the survey, a simple one, on a scale of one to 10 asking what their opinion was on the lunch; and then were asked to say what they liked and what would they change," Campese said. "The results were not good. It was on a scale of one to 10 and students added a zero in themselves, so they really didn't like the lunches."
OBSERVER Photo by Michael Rukavina
Student Board Member Elizabeth Campese hands out the results of a student lunch survey to Dunkirk City School Board of Education members during the January meeting.
Granted, the survey could have been taken by students who bring lunches, accept the stereotype, or speak the truth, but the board listened and appreciated the comments.
"I'd like to thank Miss Campese for all her hard work. Linda Guy and I started this conversation a while back and spoke with High School Principal Mr. Paul Lyons about it. We'll take this data now and meet with our lunchroom people," Superintendent Gary Cerne said. "Sodexo runs our cafeteria so we'll meet with them and say this is what the students were saying and we need to have it addressed."
The survey question was, on a scale of one to 10 (one being awful and 10 being fantastic) what do you think of the school lunches? The non-scientific results were as follows: Seven students answered zero, 54 students answered one, 21 students answered two, 26 students answered three, 29 students answered four, 20 students answered five, eight students answered six, four students answered seven, one student answered eight, and no students answered nine or 10.
"A lot of people said that school lunches are just not healthy. They look greasy and not appetizing," Campese said, reading some of the student comments. "There are vegetables, but they're just ... there isn't salad everyday, unless you ask the lunch ladies for it. There is always a fruit or two but it's not much of a variety. Students said they wanted more variety, and options for vegetarians, and less of the same things everyday."
"We'll tell them we're going to demand improvement because their contract will be up," Cerne added. "And if things don't improve ... we can ask the same survey at the end of the year to see if there was any improvement."
Board member Linda Guy asked if the survey could be conducted a month or two down the road, and asked, "We can't be imaginative in anyway of providing better food for our kids?"
Business Manager William Thiel said the survey that the board received from the students was a very good first step.
"What I would ask for is involvement," he said. "If there was a group of students that want to get together and work on a committee, and then a group of parents. Sodexo would be happy to allocate the time to come down and meet. There has not been that level of involvement so I think this is a welcome start."
The survey wasn't all negative either. Campese noted some suggestions and also mentioned what they did like about the current lunches.
"Some students put what kinds of food they would want to be added, like, Spanish rice, bread sticks, pizza pockets, and a chicken sandwich everyday along with the burgers," she said. "There were a couple of good things that students said. They like the Mexican chicken salad and the tater tots but they're not always cooked very well; the pizza everyday; and then the extras like chips and ice cream."
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