Stu­dents choose new lunch menu items

The Sentinel-Record - - FRONT PAGE - BETH REED

This week, stu­dents at Hot Springs World Class High School were given an op­por­tu­nity to choose what they want to be added to their school lunch menu.

The high school is one of 150 schools across the coun­try to launch Stu­dent Choice — a new pro­gram of­fered by food ser­vice partner Chartwells K12 — which al­lows stu­dents to taste and vote on new ad­di­tions to their lunch menu.

Brit­tany Hardage, di­rec­tor of din­ing ser­vices at Hot Springs School Dis­trict, said bring­ing the pro­gram to the high school was im­por­tant be­cause to­day’s stu­dents are look­ing for “a wider va­ri­ety of foods and more global fla­vors on their lunch menus.”

“And Stu­dent Choice brings the lat­est food trends straight to the stu­dents, let­ting them de­cide how to ex­pand their lunch menu,” she said.

Some of the op­tions stu­dents sam­pled this week in­clude Thai pineap­ple chicken, av­o­cado ched­dar burger and Nashville hot chicken sand­wich.

“These op­tions were cho­sen be­cause while we of­fer six dif­fer­ent en­tree op­tions daily, these were fla­vors that stu­dents don’t typ­i­cally see on their lunch menu,” Hardage said.

Dur­ing their reg­u­lar lunch pe­ri­ods, stu­dents took

part in a tast­ing event, sam­pling the va­ri­ety of new items from dif­fer­ent food sta­tion op­tions, she said. Stu­dents then voted on their fa­vorite.

“The menu that re­ceives the most votes will be in­tro­duced into the cafe­te­ria and served for the re­main­der of the month,” Hardage said. “Then, in Jan­uary, we will start the whole process again by sam­pling more food sta­tion op­tions and vot­ing. We have an area in our cafe that will be a per­ma­nent home to Stu­dent Choice where we will be able to of­fer the stu­dents’ voted fa­vorites ev­ery month.”

She said through this process, Chartwells hopes to of­fer stu­dents an op­por­tu­nity to try more fla­vors they wouldn’t nec­es­sar­ily be of­fered any other time.

“We are com­mit­ted to col­lab­o­rat­ing with stu­dents to re-imag­ine the school din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and get stu­dents ex­cited about new foods and fla­vors, mak­ing the cafe­te­ria a place they want to be,” she said.

The Sen­tinel-Record/Richard Ras­mussen

TASTE TESTERS: Hot Springs World Class High School stu­dents, from left, Micah El­lis, Zoee Burns, Til­lie Rea­gler and Lil­iana Boekhout get sam­ples from Tammy Green with the food ser­vice com­pany Chartwells Thurs­day as part of a Stu­dent Choice pro­gram, which al­lows stu­dents to taste new cafe­te­ria menu items and vote on their fa­vorites. The top votes will be added to the menu.

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