Sagamore Middle School students present case for free water at school lunch

Eighth graders Anthony Sacco and Jason Damiano say the lunch menu at Sagamore Middle School is pretty good — but is lacking one thing - free bottled water.

News 12 Staff

Feb 17, 2023, 10:50 PM

Updated 428 days ago

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Do state schools need an update to their lunch menu? Some Holtsville students who put in plenty of time researching the situation say yes.
Eighth graders Anthony Sacco and Jason Damiano say the lunch menu at Sagamore Middle School is pretty good — but is lacking one thing - free bottled water.
“Right now, milk is our only free beverage option with school lunch and we would like to expand the choice and add water as a choice alongside milk,” says Damiano.
Sacco says a lot of students don’t drink the milk and ultimately throw it out.
The issue became the focus of Damiano, Sacco and classmate Kacey Geluso’s civics project called “The Case for Bottled Water.”
To make their case, the students spent a month doing research and gathering evidence online. Some of their findings were quite surprising. 
“We found out that act that made milk the only option was signed into law 70 years ago, so it was very outdated,” says Geluso.
It was 1946 when then-President Harry Truman signed the National School Lunch Act. The students argue that the mandated inclusion of milk might be antiquated, especially given current studies recommending healthy meals including water as a beverage.
“A lot of people enjoy water, and in fact, we have a survey which has about 97% of students at Sagamore want to have water,” says Sacco.
The students recently presented their findings at a Sachem Board of Education meeting.
“Which is kind of uncommon for 13-, 14-year-old students to have that confidence, that drive to want to really make a change and put themselves out there,” says Sagamore teacher Jill Bongiorno.
The trio’s hard work could pay off — their case is now being reviewed by the state Department of Education.
“We learned that if you see a problem in your school or community, that you should put work into changing it,” says Damiano.


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