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Aberdeen Sixth Grader Voices Lunch Concerns

October 4, 2012, 6:00 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Aberdeen Sixth Grader Voices Lunch Concerns

The new healthier school lunch guidelines have been the talk in school cafeterias across the country. One KELOLAND student decided to do more than talk; she took pen to paper and wrote Washington.

It earned her class a special visit.

"Dear Kristi Noem- I am Samantha Olson, age 11. I am a sixth grader at Roncalli Elementary," Olson read from a letter she'd written to Rep. Kristi Noem.

The new federal guidelines for school lunch aren't quite cutting it for Olson and her classmates. Their number one complaint is not getting enough to eat. That's what Olson told Noem in her letter. And that's what she and classmates got to tell her face to face Thursday.

"I just wanted to make like a change. Like, I couldn't learn or concentrate with anything. Like, if I didn't have food I couldn't concentrate at all," Olson said.

Noem visited the Olson’s class Thursday because of that letter. Noem says she's received a lot of letters about this topic, but not many from kids. Still, they're very vocal when she shows up to talk to them about it.

During Noem's Roncalli visit, students shared various concerns but the bulk of them simply boiled down to still being hungry after lunch.

And that's what Olson hoped to change as she signed off on her letter that eventually brought a congresswoman to class.

School lunch has become a campaign issue.

Noem's challenger, Matt Varilek, says Noem could have had input into the new school lunch standards had she shown up for a house sub-committee meeting in May. Noem says she was on official business that day, traveling to South Dakota for a National Guard activation ceremony.

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