(Laredo, Texas)-Gabriela Perez, Clark Elementary School Principal and Lisa Dunn-Flores, UISD GT/AA Coordinator, collaborated to begin a pilot program through which gifted and talented students and staff work with agents from Texas A&M University’s Agrilife Extension Agency on health and wellness initiatives as part of GT Program services.
Agents, including Mrs. Martha Ramirez and Angelica Sifuentes, taught the students lessons from the Learn, Grow. Eat, Go curriculum in conjunction with Ms. Eleonor Coronado, teacher, and Ms. Roxana Rios, Counselor.
The curriculum entails a series of lessons on nutrition and gardening. Agrilife agents worked with students and staff to build garden beds and plant vegetables. Forty GT students received lessons (including cooking demonstrations and recipe tastings) on Fridays.
Students and staff also participated in the Walk Across Texas initiative by logging miles walked and promoting exercise and activity. In addition, the staff participated in the Maintain, No Gain program, committing not to gain weight during the holidays.The Dinner Tonight Junior G.T. event was the first of its kind in the state of Texas at which City Mayor Pete Saenz offered opening remarks and County Judge Tano Tijerina later addressed the group, offering his support. Dr. Elaine Fries, Agrilife Associate Director, issued a proclamation, recognizing Clark Elementary as an official Healthy South Texas school.
Agrilife agents from around the state, led by Luisa Colin, Special Initiatives Coordinator, helped to orchestrate the event and collaborated with teachers and students, who led nine stations, sharing about food preparation, safe meals, family meal time, food labels, grains, healthy snacks, low calorie drinks, power up breakfast, and physical education. The event also featured a cooking demonstration on stage, line dance, and smoothie bike rides. UISD Associate Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, David Gonzalez, rode a smoothie bike along with agents and CES staff. Mario Rosales, UISD Director of Advanced Academics also attended the event.
Participating students received a copy of their cookbook featuring original recipes created during the program. Students continue to research health and wellness topics as part of their GT Program services. Agrilife agents are scheduled to provide training this summer for UISD staff and schools wishing to implement theLearn, Grow, Eat, Go curriculum and Junior Master Gardening Program.