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Justin Rivera, left, and Monica Plouffe believe it's good for students at St. Patrick high school to have snacking choices. - Erin Fletcher/NNSL photo

Junk out

St. Patrick high school students opt for healthy snacking choices

Erin Fletcher
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (May 02/03) - Forget the daily struggles of high school studies. What about snacking choices?

Last month students at St. Patrick high school faced a snacking dilemma when they were asked to decide whether healthy snacks had a place in their beloved vending machines.

The question came up when high school staff wanted to see some snacking changes in the school, said assistant principal Todd Stewart. Stewart said with the research being done about childhood obesity and diabetes the teachers are concerned for their students' health.

So they put the question through the democratic process.

Students developed a list of questions and polled the population. They wanted to know if students wanted all healthy snacks in the vending machines, all junk food or half and half.

In the end, compromise won out. And now the four school machines will be slowly transformed to include juices, bottled water, granola bars and energy bars stacked beside the chocolate bars, chips and pop.

"Now they can have the best of both worlds," said Justin Rivera, one of the students who participated in the polling.

Monica Plouffe, another student poller, predicts students will make healthier choices now they have the option.

"If you're feeling sick and need something to eat you'll now have a choice," she said.

When asked what they learned by polling the school, both Plouffe and Rivera said they don't want to be politicians.

"I learned I am not going into politics," smiled Plouffe.

"The whole process takes a really long time.

"And thinking of a question that doesn't involve anything else just isn't easy."

"I think it was a really good experience to go through the democratic process," said Stewart.

The healthy snacks are also sneaking their way into the school store, The Rock Cafe.

By the end of May all the vending machines should include a few healthy choices.