PHARR – Students and staff at Kelly-Pharr Elementary in Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD (PSJA) were surprised with a $10,000 check from H-E-B and Dole Food Company for winning the first ever ‘Let’s Get Growing Educational Program’ competition on Tuesday, Dec. 6. The money will go toward incorporating additional playground equipment for students, including components specifically designed for students with special needs.

The efforts were part of a partnership between H-E-B, Dole and PSJA ISD to launch the first-ever ‘Let’s Get Growing’ educational program at six elementary schools within the district earlier this year. Designed to make eating fruits andvegetables fun, the 12-week program taught 2nd graders the fundamentals of agriculture in modern day society and ways to improve eating habits. 

The program was led by teachers and supported by an H-E-B Registered Dietitian who provided cooking demonstrations in each classroom using easy-to-follow recipes.

“With this tremendous donation from H-E-B, all our children, regardless of age or ability, will be able to exercise and play together,” said Lydia Trevino, Kelly-Pharr Elementary Principal. “We are so honored to be able to get our students and their families engaged in the conversation about the importance of healthy eating in a fun and meaningful way.”

As part of the competition, students were challenged to try 15 different fruits and vegetables, and track them on a special handout with the help of their parents. Completed handouts were collected by each participating school and tallied to determine an overall winner.

Of the 520 students across six elementary schools, Kelly-Pharr Elementary had the highest completion rate of 95 percent, with almost all participating students completing the fruit and vegetable challenge. The five other participating schools included: Carmen Anaya Elementary, Palacios Elementary, Chavez Elementary, Garcia Elementary and Palmer Elementary.

For students at Kelly-Pharr Elementary, taking part in the educational initiative and the competition was a fun learning experience.

“I’m super excited that we won,” said second grade student Ezra Perez. “Thank you to H-E-B for doing the Let’s Get Growing program and helping us succeed."

The Let’s Get Growing pilot program will begin its second semester on January 12 at the following elementary schools: Arnold Elementary, Ford Elementary, Dr. Long Elementary, Longoria Elementary, Escobar Elementary and Ramirez Elementary.

The entire program will directly impact 1,200 students in 2nd grade and their families during its pilot year.