Julius Sprauve School Students Learn Hard Facts at “Let’s Talk” Conference


Dara Cooper of UVI’s CES helps a Julius E. Spruave School student determine how much sugar is in his fruit drink.

Julius E. Sprauve School eighth graders learned some hard facts on Friday, May 11, during the 19th annual “Let’s Talk” conference at the Westin Resort and Villas.

The conference, organized each year by JESS physical education teacher Lecia Richmond and nurse practitioner Fran Jacobsen, is designed to give students real information about their lives and bodies through presentations from various experts.

The students learned about the perils of unwed teen pregnancies and the realities of HIV and AIDS during morning sessions with child support expert Terrence Joseph and AIDS social worker Jason Henry.

Before breaking for lunch, the students learned to determine just how much sugar is contained in common beverages like canned ice-tea, soda drinks and even fruit juices.

Dara Cooper of the University of the Virgin Islands’s Cooperative Extension Services explained how to understand what 38 grams of sugar in a 10-ounce soda can really means.

Students were quickly using Cooper’s formula to determine that their once beloved ice tea bottle actually contained 14 teaspoons of sugar. To make her point even more clear, Cooper had students pour 14 teaspoons of sugar into an empty 12-ounce bottle to see just how much sugar they were ingesting.

Using a 10-ounce bottle of pineapple and orange fruit drink containing 10 percent juice, students determined there were actually nine teaspoons of sugar in the one serving.

“And that is supposed to be good for you,” Cooper asked the students.

After listening to Cooper’s presentation, most of the students in the room said their new knowledge just might make a difference in their future beverage consumption habits.

Following their lunch break, students heard presentations on fitness, gang awareness and bullying prevention.