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Quinte Secondary launches healthy cafeteria

By Alisa Howlett [1] and Katie Coleman [2]

BELLEVILLE – In a time when food is fast, Quinte Secondary School [3] is slowing it down.

The school is the first in Belleville [4] to launch its own student-run cafeteria.

Sarah Hercus is the woman who is spearheading the program. She says that teens’ lifestyles are changing due to wrong food and exercise plans. After much research and many visits to other schools with similar programs, Hercus decided to help the school apply for a $50,000 provincial grant.

The school received the grant and redid the cafeteria and the kitchen. It was able to set up a smoothie bar and a variety of healthy options at an affordable price. The aim is to make the cafeteria sustainable while providing healthy food for the kids.

Chef Sam McGowan was hired to run the program which includes students from the cooperative education, life skills, and food programs.

“She has been a real find for us,” Hercus said.

Chef Sam was hired in September and she says this is a dream for her because she loves kids and loves food.

“I keep pinching myself because this is my job,” she said.

She says the students that help run the kitchen have been such a great help and they’re eager to learn.

This means a great deal to students like Christina Annesley.

“I’ve been at Quinte since grade 9 and the food was just horrible. I would leave for lunch. Now I eat here because it’s good food.”

Quinte Secondary School’s principal Liane Woodley is excited about the program.

“It’s good to have a healthy cafeteria so students can buy nutritional foods that are delicious but at a good price because we’re competing against McDonald’s [5] and Subway and all the other restaurants in fast food alley.”

School officials hope this program can keep students from the fast food joints along North Front Street.