Sacramento EAST Student Wins Healthy Schools Challenge

   

8/12/2013 3:11:51 PM

Chelsea Talbert wanted her classmates at West Campus High School to look at healthier food and beverage choices, so the 15-year-old sophomore searched the Internet. Talbert entered an essay into a contest called the "Got Milk?" Healthy Schools Challenge. Her idea was so well liked that her school was given $1,000.

'Healthy' essay heralded

West Campus pupil's entry wins 'Got Milk?' Healthy Schools Challenge

By Ralph Montaño and Mark McDermott -- Bee Staff Writers
Published 2:15 am PDT Thursday, April 14, 2005

Chelsea Talbert wanted her classmates at West Campus High School to look at healthier food and beverage choices, so the 15-year-old sophomore searched the Internet.

What she came back with was some green, and it wasn't the kind that goes in a salad bar.

Talbert entered an essay into a contest called the "Got Milk?" Healthy Schools Challenge. Her idea was so well liked that her school was given $1,000. West Campus is one of 50 schools that will receive such an award between now and next fall.

"I was so excited. It's really hard to believe," Talbert said. She said she was unhappy with the kinds of foods she saw people eating every day.

"Some of my friends don't even eat lunch, which is really bad," she said. Pizza, potato chips and soda were the popular and easy choices on campus, she added.

But there were also healthy foods available. "That needed to be pointed out," Talbert said.

Talbert started a project in her Environmental and Spatial Technology (EAST) Lab dealing with nutrition and available options for her school. Her teacher suggested she enter an essay in a national contest.

Sara Ellison with the "Got Milk" Challenge said the objective of the campaign is to combat the problem of teen obesity, which has tripled in the last 20 years. The National Basketball Association is also a program sponsor.

Talbert said her project involves a lot of time sitting in the computer lab doing research. For her, every break in her schedule means time in the lab.

The EAST Lab is a self-directed learning program that provides students with the opportunity to develop skills useful in an age driven by information technology. Mary Ellen Thoene, West Campus EAST Lab facilitator, said there are more than 25,000 students in the program nationwide.

"When I look at Chelsea, I see a person with a lot of promise," Thoene said. "She is a self-starter and one who can take on a project and do it on her own."

Talbert's EAST Lab project informs students about making healthy food and drink choices in the cafeteria and snack bar.

"We did a lot of our own "Got Milk?" posters with our students and athletes," Talbert said. She's an athlete herself, a pitcher on the West Campus softball team, which is off to a good start this season.

On April 6, Sacramento Kings guard Maurice Evans presented the $1,000 check that will be used to fund the school's EAST Lab project. West Campus High School now becomes a finalist for the grand prize, which includes a $15,000 gymnasium makeover for the winning school. The winner will be announced sometime next winter, according to Ellison.

In the meantime, Principal John Becker told the student body that he wants Talbert's campaign to continue.

"We want you all to be the best person you can be," Becker said.

About the writer:
T he Bee's Ralph Montaño can be reached at (916) 321-1159 or rmontano@sacbee.com

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