Tackling the pounds—Changes in state policy fight student obesity

EL PASO — Not too many years ago, students eagerly awaited the bell that signals lunchtime, anticipating french fries, a can of Pepsi, and a chocolate chip cookie. Now, however, those same students have been challenged to abandon some of the junk foods they crave. In 2007, revisions were made to the Texas Public School Nutrition Policy to create a weapon to battle obesity in children. Texas public high schools have had to start abiding by laws that mandate healthier lunch foods, as well as changing vending machine products on their campuses. “Our snack bars are all run by the district cafeterias and have to abide by the changes in the law,” says Dr. Carla Gonzales, Chapin High School Principal.

Students go barefooted to shoe the shoeless

EL PASO — Bare feet slapped the polished floors in the halls of learning and blistered on the hot sidewalks of the desert campus of the University of Texas at El Paso, until by day’s end they made their point – alleviate the real plight of barefooted children in third world countries. Students abandoned the luxury of wearing shoes emulating the shoeless poverty of Ethiopia and Zambia in the TOMS event, “One Day Without Shoes,” a worldwide effort on April 5 to bring awareness to the importance of providing shoes for children. TOMS is a brand of shoes known for the motto – “With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for one.” Every pair of shoes that an individual buys guarantees that a pair of shoes is made for a child in need somewhere in the world. Students from TOMS Campus Club (TOMSCC) and ONE (OCC) gathered at Leech Grove on the University of Texas at El Paso’s campus to help bring awareness to what TOMS does and to provide information about this day.

Proposed Texas budget cuts may eliminate Pre-K programs

EL PASO — Finger paintings hang alongside the wall, number lines run along the perimeter of the pre-kindergarten classroom, and the alphabet is displayed for the children’s eager eyes. The Ysleta Pre-Kindergarten Center located at 7940 Craddock Ave El Paso, Texas 79915 is just one of the many Pre-K establishments for children to begin their education. “In our campus we have a total 725 students and about 100 employees,” said Principal Sandra Perez-Ibarra. Pre-kindergarten programs, however, may soon be the victims of cuts in the Texas state budget.  This session, lawmakers will approve a budget for fiscal years 2012 and 2013 (Sept.

Thousands raced toward a cure for breast cancer

EL PASO — Breast cancer killed her mother, hit her sister 15 years ago and five years ago Nancy Hansen was diagnosed with the illness. A theatre and speech teacher at Irvin High School, Nancy Hansen walks in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure every year, in memory of her mother and to participate in the battle against the illness that has affecter her and her family for so long. Taking part in Race for the Cure was always something that Hansen took part in before becoming a survivor. Her mother died of breast cancer that spread into her liver and bones 35 ½ years ago. “Cancer sucks,” Hansen said, “and I want to do what I can.