Southside High School students can now receive a free cup of iced coffee before heading to class. It’s a new initiative which began today by the District’s Child Nutrition Department. “Other school districts are selling the same product. Our students get it for free,” said Child Nutrition Director Janie Ramirez. They can get the free drink as long as they pick up breakfast, too. The department noticed many children were not eating breakfast, despite placing Grab-n-Go stations in high-traffic area. Ms. Ramirez saw an opportunity to have more children begin their day with breakfast after Texas Department of Agriculture authorized districts to serve coffee. It worked! The number of high school students getting breakfast jumped 29 percent up to 700 students on the first day of coffee service. Freshman Ben Castano’s ears perked up when he was invited to get coffee. “I was excited because we’ve never had coffee before,” he said. “It gets you ready for the day and a boost for the morning.” Students are receiving iced coffee in one of two flavors: mocha or vanilla. Ms. Ramirez was pleased with the turnout and expects more students to get breakfast and coffee because of its popularity. “It will impact their grades because we know breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” said Ramirez. For now, students are only being offered iced coffee and not hot coffee.