LAHAINA - Sacred Hearts School will begin a new healthy lunch program on Monday, Dec. 3.
Working closely with Juan Gomez at Penne Pasta Cafe, the school has created a menu of healthy, nutritious food that is both kid-friendly and delicious.
This program will replace traditional lunches lovingly prepared by Aunty Sue Kidnay for the last 25 years. Aunty Sue looks forward to her retirement on Dec. 19, and she will be missed.
Sacred Hearts' difficult decision to close the cafeteria came in May. Like schools and colleges everywhere, they found their traditional $3 lunch only paid a fraction of cafeteria expenses.
The carefully designed new lunch program offers nutritionally balanced $5 lunches prepared by Penne Pasta Cafe located near the school on Dickenson Street.
The new program pays for itself and allows Sacred Hearts School to continue offering subsidized and free lunch to students who qualify for federal school lunch assistance.
In addition, Penne Pasta has generously offered to subsidize teacher lunches at a cost to the parish of only $2 per lunch.
Gomez commented, "Our teachers are the soul of our school. I am happy to do what I can to support them."
The menu has been created based on student and parent surveys conducted earlier this summer.
Predictably, kids prefer pizza to all other hot lunch selections. However, a big surprise was their top choice for snacks: fresh fruit.
"Score one for health," noted Principal Susan Hendricks.
Volunteer parent Linda Jenkins, a team of parents and school board members, along with Jan Pasamonte, school secretary, took on the work of creating an affordable and healthy menu after observing students throwing away lunches that didn't appeal to them.
Jenkins began her research with a simple idea: lunch is only nutritious if it is eaten.
Healthy food is clearly a topic Sacred Hearts parents care deeply about. Eighty-four percent of all parents and 86 percent of students responded to the survey that tested both kids' and parents' food preferences.
The key point taken from the results is that kids and parents tend to prefer food that is both healthy and tasty.
Penne Pasta Caf and Sacred Hearts have designed a menu that gives kids exactly that. The end result is that the children will have ono, healthy lunches with little food waste.
The other big change coming to Sacred Hearts is the launch of healthy snack time. In the survey, parents and students alike chose fresh fruit as their preferred snack. Fresh fruit will be sold daily for 50 to 75 cents and be served by parent volunteers.
Sacred Hearts is celebrating its 150th anniversary, carrying on the legacy of its founders and the spirit of ohana. This sense of family is key to the school's ethos and evident in its history. Providing healthy food for the school family is an important part of carrying on the legacy.
SHS students consistently perform above national averages on standardized tests in mathematics, science, language arts and social studies.
More than 90 percent of Sacred Hearts students go on to college- some to Ivy League schools such as Yale and Cornell.
Sacred Hearts' family of dedicated teachers, administrators, parents, pastors and volunteers prepare West Maui students for life roles as moral citizens, community service volunteers and working professionals in every kind of occupation.
An innovative lunch program, new additions to the curriculum and proactive educational technology prepare Sacred Hearts School for the future.
The school's mission is "to provide excellence in education and to nurture a life of prayer, faith and service in the Catholic tradition."
For information on Sacred Hearts School or its lunch program, visit www.sacredheartsschool.net or call 661-4720.