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How One Student Inspired The Crockett Middle School Snack Shak

At principal meetings over the years, I listened to Dyron Howell discuss Snack Pak 4 Kids. I can recall thinking, “I’m so glad I am at a school where my students really don’t need Snack Pak.”

Then one day, a student named Larry asked me to drive him home from a band concert. It was dark and cold, and he couldn’t get a ride home. I knew he lived quite a distance from the school, so we loaded up in my car.

As we were driving to his house, I asked him if he had gone home before the concert. He replied he hadn’t, so I asked if he had eaten dinner. Larry said he never really ate at home because they didn’t have much food, and he got full eating breakfast and lunch at school.

That was when reality hit me square in the face.

The next day, I wanted to figure out how to help provide food for Larry and his sister. My counselors were a great help and put together a list of students who they felt needed assistance. We all pitched in and bought food to send home with those students each week.

At our next cluster meeting at Western Plateau Elementary, Dyron spoke again about Snack Pak 4 Kids. I knew then that his program was exactly what we needed at Crockett Middle School. I asked our Crockett Ambassadors if they would take on the challenge of Snack Shak.  They researched it and answered me with a big yes!

IMG_1613 (1)We started the program three-and-a-half years ago with six students participating, and now we serve more than 20 students.

I understand we don’t serve as many students as most middle schools, but the fact that we are helping more than 20 students makes this program well worth it.

Our Ambassadors have embraced Snack Pak as their number one project each year, and they hold simple fundraisers throughout the year to collect money to sustain the program. We pass the hat at band, choir, and orchestra concerts, have coin drives with the staff, and take donations at ball games. The integrity of Snack Pak 4 Kids is widespread in Amarillo and surrounding areas, so getting staff, students, parents, and our community to help with donations has not been a problem.

From our data, not only has Snack Shak improved the academic success of participating students, but their disciplinary infractions have also decreased. I believe this is due to our students knowing they are cared for.

When I asked one of our female students why she was behaving better in her classes since being part of our Snack Shak program, she stated, “I pick up my food from Mrs. X. When I go in there, she hugs me and asks about my grades and if I am staying out of trouble. I don’t want her to be upset with me if I get sent to the office for being bad.”

That speaks volumes to me as a principal, because Snack Pak is also helping to build positive relationships between my staff and students. I am excited to have this program at Crockett Middle School, and knowing we are alleviating one concern our students have – food on the weekends – makes this program a success.

Lisa Loan is the principal at Crockett Middle School. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University and has worked for Amarillo ISD for 31 years. Prior to working at Crockett, Loan worked at Amarillo High School, Ridgecrest Elementary, and Horace Mann Middle School. She was born and raised in Amarillo.

Loan and her husband Tim have two children, Adi and Brock.

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