Education Department to Host Healthy School Lunch Competition for High School Students

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The U.S. Department of Education will host the national finals for six teams of high school culinary students who are competing in preparing healthy school lunches beginning at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, May 21, at the department’s headquarters building. Finalists are students from Chicago, Denver, Jacksonville, Santa Ana, St. Louis, and Winston-Salem, N.C.

The teams, which became finalists by winning local qualifying contests, will prepare lunches for a panel of judges that meet high nutritional standards, use common ingredients that can be easily prepared by school food service workers, and are affordable and delicious. The competition, called Cooking Up Change®, is sponsored by the Healthy Schools Campaign, a non-profit organization based in Chicago.

Joanne Weiss, chief of staff for Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and Eric Waldo, deputy chief of staff for policy and programs, will serve as judges on the panel, along with several others from the culinary world and the fields of nutrition, education, and government. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will stop by to learn about the students' dishes and congratulate them for their hard work.

“It’s great to see students directly involved in helping to make their school lunches more nutritious and taste great at the same time,” Secretary Duncan said. “The competition complements First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, which aims to fight childhood obesity through active living and healthy eating.”