Amvet Boulevard students advocate for change in the cafeteria

Amvet School
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By Max

Strawberry milk, anyone?

A group of fourth-grade students at Amvet Boulevard Elementary School have successfully petitioned for the addition of strawberry milk to the lunch menus of the entire district.

Principal Kristine Kefor said that a few months ago six Amvet students approached her about making this change. The request turned into a lesson of sorts, with students asked to write letters explaining their request to Food Services Director Heather Baril. All told, Baril said more than 40 students wrote to her.

They’re driven,” said Baril of the students. “They know what they want.”

The letters spoke of wanting to have a choice and the benefits of more variety in the menu. Kefor said that some of the students referenced friends in other districts that already offer strawberry milk. Persuasive writing is taught at the fourth-grade level, and self-advocacy and awareness are part of the school’s curriculum.

This sort of request surprised Kefor, who said she had never before seen it from students. She was impressed by the way they took action, showing leadership and an investment in the school. Being asked to make a formal request of the school administration helped teach them how to write a persuasive argument.

They learned that if you want something changed and you ask in a way that’s appropriate, that you can make that change as well,” said Kefor.

The milk was delivered on April 13 and supplied to all the schools in North Attleborough. Baril spoke to high school students about this, and said they were very impressed that it was thanks to those at Amvet Boulevard. Feedback on the school menus doesn’t happen often, said Baril, but she hopes this will inspire others to voice any concerns or requests.

Getting the milk proved to be challenge. Garelick Farms is the supplier for North Attleborough Schools, and it’s delivered by New England Ice Cream. Garelick no longer makes strawberry milk in the same volume as before, and Baril cited supply chain issues and a lack of demand from when schools were fully remote. So, she went through Hood Milk, with the deliveries being done by Thurston Foods. The first shipment has run out, and another delivery is planned for after the students return from spring vacation.

It’s interesting when you have a need to generates that much momentum so kids are motivated to see something through,” said Kefor. “It’s a new thing at the school. It shows them when they go through the correct channels that they can effect change.”