Education / Food

Hyde kids giddy over visit to White House

Chinwe Oniah

Fifth Grader Idiatou Diallo reads her speech at John V. Lindsay Wildcat Charter School on June 12.

It was a red carpet affair for the kids of Hyde Leadership Charter School.

On June 12, students from Hyde Leadership Charter School were stars for a day at the John V. Lindsay Wildcat Charter School in the BankNote building on Lafayette Avenue.

The students received a $5000 grant from lawn maintenance company Scotts MiracleGro for the work they have done growing healthy food with their teacher, environmental “Green Dean” Stephen Ritz. The money helped pay their expenses for a trip they took to the White House Garden and Kitchen the following day to meet with the president’s chef, William Yosses.

They were also celebrating the premiere of a commercial they filmed with the company.

Fifth grader Idiatou Diallo gave a rousing speech, thanking the school for introducing her to nutritious foods she said she “never ‘yucked’ but always ‘yummed'” through Hyde’s fresh food educational initiative. The rest of the children rallied behind her to sing “Let us turn up the beat,” a song they wrote during the semester, and a play on the words “Lettuce turnip the beet.”

Ritz, who founded the initiative along with his wife, called it a “celebration of all of us.”

After the speeches, the crowd was treated to food grown and prepared by students from JVL Wildcat Charter School’s culinary program, whose menu features fresh fruits and vegetables, along with dishes created by the students.

Armani Harris, another fifth grader at Hyde, said he applies nutrition lessons he’s learned in school at home, adding he couldn’t wait for the trip.

“I’m so excited because it’s a very good opportunity,” said Harris.

“We are excited to be leaving from Hunts Point non-stop express to the White House,” Ritz said, adding that the group planned to stay at the Ritz Carlton, “so we are traveling in some style, proof that the Bronx can change attitudes now.”

Watch the Hyde students’ commercial at

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