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Eagles Nest Intermediate School debuts Lunch with Principal program

Eagles Nest Intermediate School Principal Justin Roberson and sixth grade teacher Tonya Tso serve up fresh teriyaki chicken stir-fry to parents, grandparents and community members at a Lunch with the Principal event last week. Rosanda Suetopka Thayer/NHO

School officials hope open dialogue, healthy life and eating habits and academic challenge a recipe for student success

Most people remember spending time with the principal at school as something to avoid. A trip to the principal's office usually meant that you were in trouble for some infraction and was something you knew you were going to regret.

But at Eagles Nest Intermediate School (ENIS) in Tuba City, spending lunch with the principal means your parents, grandparents and siblings can come and eat something tasty and nutritious while talking and visiting with teachers, counselors and the principal. The event provides a place to offer suggestions and constructive criticism.

ENIS Principal Justin Roberson played host to the first in a year-long series of lunches Jan. 30. Roberson has been with Tuba City Unified School District (TCUSD) since 1996, first as an elementary school teacher and then as the principal at Dzil Libeii Elementary. He has been the principal at Eagles Nest for the past two years.

Roberson cooked up a teriyaki chicken stir-fry with lots of fresh vegetables and yakisoba noodles right in the teachers lounge for close to 50 parents and grandparents visiting the school.

Following the main course, Roberson and his staff served fruit pizzas made with toasted English muffins, topped with a smear of low-fat strawberry cream cheese and fresh strawberries, blueberries and raspberries.

Both of these food choices showed parents and grandparents how a fresh, nutritious meal can be made for a large family. The meal is low in calories and high in vitamin packed content and parents can buy all of the ingredients from local reservation grocery stores.

Money for the food comes from an Eagles Nest Navajo Coordinated Health Program grant. Judie Keyonnie, physical activity coordinator for the Navajo Coordinated Approach to School Health grant, has been instrumental in getting the healthy lunch program running.

Keyonnie is working with six of the seven TCUSD schools to promote more physical activity for students and better nutritional choice. This helps students feel healthier, happier and more alert, which leads to higher student academic performance and brain function, according to national health studies.

Dates for the monthly lunch with the principal series are posted on the TCUSD website, www.TCUSD.org.

The website also features many of the programs Eagles Nest offers, including MACRO Math, honor roll listings, Soaring Eagles for academic improvement and a new dance troupe program called the Eagles Nest Dance Team.

More information about the lunches is available from the school at (928) 283-1000, option 3.


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