SIS 3rd grader wins trip to White House with recipe


A Saipan International School student’s healthy lunch recipe has won her a White House dinner with first lady Michelle Obama.

Third-grader Claire Park won the state “Health Lunchtime Challenge” competition. Her teacher, Kathy Ruszala, was notified of Choi’s free trip to the White House on Tuesday morning.

Saipan International School third-grader Claire Park poses with her teacher, Kathy Ruszala. (Dennis B. Chan)

Saipan International School third-grader Claire Park poses with her teacher, Kathy Ruszala. (Dennis B. Chan)

“I made a Rota sweet potato salad with chicken breast,” Choi told Saipan Tribune. “Even my dad tried it and my baby sister tried it, and my mom.

“I got it from a supermarket. My mom helped me come up” with the recipe,” she added.

When asked why eating healthy was important, she said, “Your body will be healthier and you could be not lazy. Because if you are healthy, you can grow better and it’s good for your body.”

What do people need to be healthy? “They need to eat healthy food and exercise,” Choi, whose favorite sports are soccer and tennis, said.

Specifically, Choi has won a trip to Obama’s and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 4th Annual Health Lunchtime Challenge and Kids’ “State Dinner.”

Along with 54 other students, Choi has won a July 9 trip to the White House on June 10. The paid-for ticket is round-trip and includes a one-night stay at the Westin Georgetown.

Obama, through the competition, asked students 8 to 12 to create lunch recipes that followed “MyPlate” nutrition guidelines, meaning that fruits and vegetables make up half of the recipe. The dish should also include whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy.

WGBH by Newman’s Own and Newman’s Own Foundation is providing this support for kids and families across the nation.

Dennis B. Chan | Reporter
Dennis Chan covers education, environment, utilities, and air and seaport issues in the CNMI. He graduated with a degree in English Literature from the University of Guam. Contact him at

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