DoDEA Pacific Student Wins Spot in White House Kids’ State Dinner


Guam – Andersen Elementary School 2nd grade student Lily Vinch will attend the third annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge and Kids’ State Dinner in Washington D.C. next month for her “Mo-Rockin’ Meatless Monday Special” recipe – one of 54 selected from more than 1,500 contestants.

The First Lady’s Office sent a congratulatory note stating Vinch’s recipe of couscous and spinach salad with Moroccan spices and dried fruits “was particularly impressive, as it was creative, tasted great, and most importantly, was healthy, so that’s why in a recent judging, we picked yours as the best from your state.”


Vinch will be among 54 students attending the event July 17-18. She decided to participate in the contest because she thought “we had a good chance of winning with a recipe for a meal that we love to eat. I’m really looking forward to meeting the First Lady and hopefully the President of the United States.”

[Lily Vinch cooks a dish called “Mo-Rockin’ Meatless Monday Special,” a couscous and spinach salad with Moroccan spices and dried fruits. This recipe helped Vinch win a trip to Washington, D.C. to attend the third annual Kids’ State Dinner at the White House on July 18th along with 53 other winners from the U.S.]

Each contestant was required to include the title of an original recipe for one healthy lunchtime meal incorporating the United States Department of Agriculture nutrition guidance supporting “MyPlate” at, particularly filling half the plate or recipe with fruits and vegetables. A brief essay had to provide some details about their recipe including how all or most of the major food groups would be served with their dish.


“We had a few healthy, tried and true recipes our family enjoys, so we tested a few, and I let Lily choose which one she thought would be our best chance at winning,” said Sarah Vinch, Lily’s mom. “I’m so proud of her for wanting to enter the contest, and just plain ecstatic that we are going to the White House. Sometimes a little effort, like entering a contest, can have a huge reward! It’s a great lesson for life.”


The 2014 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge:

The annual challenge gives students the ability to demonstrate a thorough understanding of how to cook and eat healthy and deliciously. The entry has to follow the USDA’s “MyPlate” guidelines for healthy meals and must represent each of the food groups, either in one dish or as parts of a lunch meal, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy foods, with fruits and veggies making up roughly half the plate or recipe.

The panel of judges for the 2014 contest included: Sam Kass, Executive Director of Let’s Move! and Senior Policy Advisor on Nutrition; Tanya Steel, Epicurious’ Special Projects Contributor and originator of the contest; Jackie Haven M.S., R.D., Deputy Director, USDA; Deborah Friendly, General Attorney Office of the General Counsel, USED; Chef Linton Hopkins, consulting chef for Delta Air Lines, and two Washington, D.C.-based children who are graduates of Share our Strength’s Cooking Matters program.

About DoDEA Pacific:

The first organized schools for the children of U.S. military personnel serving in the Pacific were established in 1946 during post-World War II reconstruction. Throughout the decades, DoD schools evolved to become a comprehensive and high-performing K-12 school system solely dedicated to educating the children of America’s heroes. Today, DoDEA Pacific’s 50 schools serve over 23,500 children of U.S. military and eligible DoD civilian personnel families stationed throughout the Pacific theater. The DoDEA Pacific teaching, administrative and school support team includes more than 3,400 full-time professionals. The schools are geographically organized into four districts: Guam, Japan, Okinawa and South Korea.