COPPERAS COVE — Students at Clements/Parsons Elementary School were on the campaign trail last week with Texas produce and the vegetable subgroup debates as the Copperas Cove Independent School District kicked off National School Lunch Week 2016.

Miss Other, Miss Starchy, Mr. Legume, Miss Red & Orange and Miss Dark Green represented all of the vegetable subgroups and gave their campaign speeches to the students as to why they should win the election as the best vegetable subgroup. The event was orchestrated by CCISD Director of Child Nutrition Melissa Bryan.

“This is a weeklong celebration of the school lunch program that shows the benefits of students eating wholesome, healthy school lunches with fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, milk and, of course, smiling students,” Bryan told the students.

“School meals are so important because you know what happens when you skip breakfast or don’t eat all your lunch? You sit in class and your stomach starts growling. It makes it hard to sit there and concentrate on what the teacher is trying to teach you.”

Miss Dark Green, dressed in green from head to toe including wearing green glasses, kicked off the election debate.

“I am the only subgroup that has spinach in my subgroup of Dark Greens,” she said. “You know who eats spinach, right? And, I know you want to be strong like Popeye. So, vote for Dark Green.”

Mr. Legume represented the Beans and Peas Vegetable Subgroup while Miss Starchy, who was clearly the school favorite, played to her strengths when trying to win the students’ votes.

“I have the best item on my list that kids like you love the most, potatoes. French fries, curly fries, tater tots, hash browns, mashed potatoes … there are just too many fries for me to name,” she said. “I also have corn and some items that you may think belong to that other candidate, Mr. Legume, but they are actually mine such as cow peas, field peas, green peas and even pigeon peas.”

Miss Other shared her credentials, which included spaghetti squash, snowpeas, bamboo shoots and bean sprouts, while Miss Red/Orange reminded students that without her tomatoes and pumpkins, they couldn’t enjoy pizza or pumpkin pie. That was all it took to capture the vote of third-grader Tahir Wingo.

“I love pumpkin pie and pizza, too,” the 8-year-old said. “So, I am voting for her.”

Like many American voters, several students were undecided.

“I do not know who to vote for,” said Taylor Wright. “There are so many to choose from.”

“I do not like any of them, especially Red/Orange,” fourth-grader Madison McPhail said. “I hate pizza.”

Students got to enjoy a Taste of Texas Tour from each of the subgroups that offered produce grown in the Lone Star State and vote for their favorite subgroup overall.

Angela Olige, Texas Department of Agriculture assistant commissioner over the Food and Nutrition Division, praised the kick-off event.

“It is important for the kids to have an understanding of what they put in their bodies,” Olige said. “This event has a dual purpose in encouraging students to learn the facts and their importance in how they relate to them.”

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