Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Peta2 says Pasco schools among most vegetarian-friendly

WESLEY CHAPEL — Melissa Jaramillo had a Red Baron cheese pizza for lunch on Wednesday.

That's only because the Wesley Chapel High cafeteria didn't have the hummus platter available.

Most days, Jaramillo said, the school has plenty of options available for vegetarians like her.

"They have a lot of salads and the hummus patter, and a nice selection of fruit," said the 17-year-old junior, who gave up eating meat as an eighth-grader after learning her family had unwittingly eaten some farm animals she had cared for. "If we get nachos, they'll take the meat out of the selection."

Pasco's attention to such matters has gained the attention of Peta2, the nation's largest youth animal-rights organization. The group named Pasco among the top five vegetarian-friendly public school districts in the United States.

The others were Orange County, Fla.; Berkeley, Calif.; Cambridge, Mass; and DeKalb County, Ga.

"Students can enjoy a hummus platter or veggie barbecue rib sandwich here," the organization said of Pasco cafeterias. "Well, that is, unless they prefer a veggie burger instead. Yum!"

Actually, the district debuted its vegetarian barbecue rib sandwich on Wednesday in select schools, with plans to expand it as an offering next week. Other new vegetarian entrees also are in the works, food and nutrition services director Rick Kurtz said.

"We try to have offerings that meet the expectations of all our customers," Kurtz said.

Many of the vegetarian offerings cost $3, rather than $2.50 for the less expensive fare. But Kurtz said the price has not deterred interest.

"It is not a big market segment, but it is a growing market segment," he said.

Pizza remains the top cafeteria choice in Pasco, with chicken sandwiches a close No. 2.

Still, Kayla Lancaster, another Wesley Chapel junior, couldn't help but notice the differences in the cafeteria options.

"The year before this year, it was hard to find selections," said Lancaster, 17, also a vegetarian. "They just had chicken and burgers and stuff like that. They added a lot this year. … I would agree that they are vegetarian-friendly."

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at or (813) 909-4614. For more education news, visit the Gradebook at

Peta2 says Pasco schools among most vegetarian-friendly 03/18/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 9:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect


    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)


    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.