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Showcase - By Students 4 Students
Posted in on April 11, 2024

By Students 4 Students Showcase

The By Students 4 Students (BS4S) program in Arlington ISD is exactly how it sounds.  

“Our students are the customers,” said Arlington ISD executive director of food services David Lewis.  

And in this case, they’re the masterminds behind the menu, too!  

That’s why culinary classes from four of the district’s high schools came together for the third annual BS4S Showcase at the food and nutrition services building last week. 

“But it’s student driven from the very beginning, starting in our elementary and junior high schools,” Lewis said. 

Each year, Lewis and his department bring hundreds of students from across Arlington ISD to taste test basic food ingredients.  

“We have to have roughly 500 students taste items with a 70% favorability before it gets onto our menus,” he said.  

Using that feedback, those ingredients are handed over to the culinary programs where students transform them into delicious recipes. 

For the biggest showcase yet, students from Arlington High School, Bowie High School, Martin High School, Seguin High School and the Dan Dipert Career and Technical Center participated in putting their creativity to the test.  

Joined by Martin High School alum Aziz Kobty from Prince Lebanese Grill – whose squash and wings are a staple of the district’s menu already – students displayed their own dish ideas for the district’s 2024-25 fall menu. 

“The future is bright for culinary here in Arlington ISD,” Kobty said. “I’m glad it’s not a competition because I think I’d have my work cut out for me with these kids.” 

Crunch wrap supreme quesadillas, Cajun alfredo, egg bites and poutine were just a few of the dishes brought to the table. 

“It feels great to have an opinion,” said Arlington High sophomore Joan Villanueva. “We get to have a say in what we like, express our own ideas and make the food we eat in school.” 

Despite the challenge of following the U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, more than 15 samples were presented at the showcase. 

“This event empowers them to use their skills and make something tasty while following very difficult guidelines,” said nutrition education coach Kristy McAlister. 

But wait, there’s more! The culinary extravaganza even coincided with the first-ever Texas Fruit and Vegetable Day. Aimed to promote awareness of the health benefits of fruits and vegetables in public schools, dishes also incorporated a variety of fruits and veggies.  

The BS4S program students sure do prove that healthy eating can be delicious, too! 

“If we truly want students to benefit from what they eat in school, they have to like it,” Lewis said. “The best way for them to do that is to create it!”  

Learn more about what’s on the menu.