SPHS wins 9th Annual Nutrition Competition

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 18, No. 16            April 17, 2008

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Team SPHS, (L-R) Coach (and Acting Principal) Emil Vasquez, Eni Gonzalez, Alice Huang and Risela Rivero.

On Friday, April 11th, senior students from the San Pedro High School were the victors in this year’s ninth annual A-D-M Belize Mills National Competition. Risela Rivero, Enid Gonzalez and Alice Huang took the competition by storm and took the championship at the festivities held at the Princess Hotel and Casino. This year there was participation from eight secondary schools from across the country including Ladyville Technical High, Orange Walk Technical, Belize Adventist College from Corozal, Belmopan Comprehensive, Sacred Heart from Cayo, Stann Creek Ecumenical High School and Toledo Community College.

    The quiz competition was comprised of four tough rounds and during the first three rounds, each school was asked one question. But from the get go, the two most dominant schools – San Pedro High and Orange Walk Technical were in close contention and either team trailed by as little as five points through out the quiz. The third round was an elimination round and saw Belize Adventist College, Ecumenical High School and Toledo Community College disqualified from the competition as they posted the lowest scores. In round four, the San Pedro trio managed to pull away with a commanding lead and ultimately took the title with a total of one hundred and twenty five points and San Pedro could not be any prouder! Second place went Orange walk Technical High and the third place position was held on by Sacred Heart College from Cayo. In an interview with The Sun, Acting Principal Emil Vasquez stated that the zone eliminations proved more complex than the actual national competition and was thrilled that the girls had performed so well. “We have been preparing for this for two years and finally we have won our first national Championship in any event, I was so excited and proud of the team. We have always fallen short and always in second so we plan to celebrate the occasion with a parade down the streets of the town on Friday or sometime soon.”

    Erica McGregor, Technical Advisor for Health Promotion and Supervisor for HECOPAB, told The San Pedro Sun more during an interview on the sole purpose of the competition. “The whole idea of the quiz is to inform our young people with the correct information for them to actually adapt good behavior or positive behavior. So you find that our young people who will become adults later in life will prepare more healthy meals for their families. We felt it is a good strategy because it engages young people in meaningful discussion about the importance of nutrition and the whole importance of exercise to healthy living. We find that over the years the schools’ interest has increased and we have more schools participating over the years,” stated Mcgregor. She further stated that students from the top three winners will now proceed to compete in the regional nutrition quiz competition organized by the Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute (CFNI) which will be held in St. Lucia in June, 2008.

    Unfortunately, because the SPHS winners are all seniors and are to graduate in June, they are not eligible to partake in the regional competition, instead Pedro Garcia; a third form student will take their place. Also, other members from second and third place will make up the rest of the team.

    The event was hosted by the Ministries of Health and Education in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the National Nutrition competition with its overall objective of improving the image of food and nutrition in Belize and the region and also to promote nutrition and healthy lifestyle among students and the community - particularly as it relates to dietary practices and the reduction in chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes.

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