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Capital University News, California State University, Sacramento

November 20, 2003

Soft drinks, soft kids?
Essay contest on soda in schools

High school juniors and seniors can win a day in Sacramento meeting with state leaders in an essay contest sponsored by the LegiSchool Project, a civic education program of the Center for California Studies at California State University, Sacramento and the State Legislature.

This year’s topic is soda machines in high schools.

Legislation signed in September bans the machines in California elementary and junior high schools in an effort to reduce childhood obesity rates.

But high schools, originally included in the legislation, were excluded in the final version. They can still collect an average of $30,000 a year in vending sales that’s often used for school clubs, athletics and other special programs.

Entries should answer the following: At a time when roughly 30 percent of California’s kids are overweight, almost 40 percent are considered unfit and childhood diabetes is on the rise, should schools be required to remove soda machines? Most schools rely heavily on revenues generated from soda sales. As funding for education decreases, can schools afford to do away with soda sales without adversely impacting special programs? If this new law applied to high schools, how would it affect your school? Should this law apply to all levels of public schools (K-12) or should high schools be excluded? Why or why not? How do you recommend tackling the health problems mentioned above?

The 10 winners will come to Sacramento on Thursday, March 25 to take part in the annual Student Legislative Summit at the State Capitol. It will include a student-run press conference with state leaders, lunch at the Capitol, tours of the Capitol and Golden State Museum, and meetings with journalists and state leaders.

Entrants must be juniors or seniors in high school. Essays must be typed, double-spaced, 750 words or less and include the student's name, home address, phone number, name of high school and teacher who announced the contest. Entries must be postmarked by Jan. 16, 2004 and submitted to: CSUS, Center for California Studies, LegiSchool Essay Contest, 6000 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95819-6081.

LegiSchool seeks to engage students in the state’s political process by addressing issues that directly impact their lives. More information is available at (916) 278-6906 or


California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 •
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California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 •