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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

MISD Elementary School Wins $30,000 Makeover

Martha Reid Leadership Academy is getting a hefty cafeteria makeover, and it’s all thanks to a peanut butter rice flan recipe.

As reported weeks ago, 5-year-old student Gabby and her mom, Luciana Malkomes, entered the nationwide Ben’s Beginners cooking photo contest.

The mother said Gabby loves helping her in the kitchen, and the contest was a perfect way to continue bonding with the chance of winning a monetary prize for her family and school.

Out of more than 500 photo entrees, the Malkomes family was picked as a top 25 finalist. The public then voted for their favorite picture. Winners were chosen based on number of votes, creativity, presentation of dish and appetite appeal.

“I received a call around Veterans Day that Gabby had won,” said Principal Rebecca Stephens. “We had to keep it a secret from them until today’s surprise presentation.”

Gabby and her mom taught students how to cook the winning recipe.
Luciana Malkomes thought she was going to a school assembly about cooking. Little did she know, she was the guest of honor for the big announcement.

“I still can’t believe it,” the mother said. “I’m really happy and thankful to God, Uncle Ben’s and Martha Reid for this opportunity. This is going to be a story [Gabby] keeps for the rest of her life.”

The winner of the contest wins $15,000. Another $30,000 is given to the school for a cafeteria makeover. School and district officials will work together to see what cafeteria upgrades would best meet the needs of students.

“We can’t wait to sit down and see how we can transform the cafeteria and encourage kids to try different and healthier options,” Stephens added.

The Ben’s Beginners contest first launched in 2011. The program’s goal is to encourage kids to cook and develop healthier eating habits.