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Monday, January 24, 2011

Front and center: DC SCORES student meets President Barack Obama at Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act's signing

During his lunch period on a recent afternoon, Luis A. knew he wasn’t eating healthy.

But it wasn’t a habit. The Tubman Elementary School third-grader was well aware of what a poor diet can do to the body.

“If you eat all of this,” Luis said, gesturing toward his half-eaten chocolate chip cookie, “you might become sick, and you don’t want to become sick. You want to live!”

That was the resounding message Luis took away from the day of his life. In mid-December, he was curious one morning when while preparing for school, his parents said, “We have to get ready for something special.”

Just hours later, Luis was on stage at Tubman standing directly next to none other than President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for the signing of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Students from Bancroft Elementary – another school DC SCORES serves – were also in attendance.

The legislation will provide more access to school meal programs and also improve the nutritional value of school meals by offering healthier options.

After the signing, Luis got the opportunity to shake the President’s hand – leading his friends to extend their hands later while asking, “Which hand did Barack Obama shake!?” – and pose for pictures with the White House officials, members of congress and others on hand.

“Everybody has a chance to live and everybody has a chance to do what they want to do,” Luis said of the main thing Obama’s visit taught him. “Everybody should do what they’re born to do.”

Luis, for one, wants to grow up just like his father – playing on soccer teams and working in the construction and painting businesses. He is following that dream this year through DC SCORES at Tubman.

In the fall, Luis played on his first-ever soccer team for Tubman, and in December he performed on stage at the Poetry Slam! with his team that claimed second place.

He’s only been in DC SCORES for one season, but Luis already recognizes how the program promotes healthy living.

“It inspires you to get out of your house and get more exercise,” Luis said. “And (writing poetry) inspires you to think more, and if you think more you learn more.”

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