Research shows that improved nutrition including daily breakfast and increased physical activity can lead to stronger academic performance for students. But even though breakfast at school can help kids be more attentive, behave better and achieve higher test scores, millions of students aren’t eating this important meal.
That’s why this March, in conjunction with National School Breakfast Week (March 2-6), Fuel Up to Play 60 launched “Fuel Greatness,” an initiative designed to recognize schools that have implemented successful school breakfast models.
At each of the Fuel Greatness events, one school was honored by the Midwest Dairy Council for its successful integration of an alternative breakfast program. Beginning on March 3, these special Fuel Greatness events kicked off in states all around the Midwest. Here’s how schools celebrated:
At B.J. Ward Elementary in Bolingbrook, Ill. and Robert Abbott Middle School in Waukegan, Ill., Chicago Bears’ center/guard Roberto Garza joined students in their classrooms for breakfast and at all-school assemblies during which students could ask Garza questions about his breakfast favorites and how he fuels up to be his best on the field. The schools’ unique programs feature breakfast deliveries to classrooms each morning, ensuring that students begin their day with a healthy, nutritious breakfast.
Westview Elementary in Apple Valley, Minn. hosted a special breakfast event attended by Adam Thielen, a local Minnesotan and wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius, Regional Administrator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Tim English and local dairy farmer Barb Liebenstein. At the event, the special guests emphasized the importance of breakfast and recognized the school’s success and the partnerships that allow more kids to start their day with a nutritious breakfast to fuel learning. Members of the school’s Walking Club also entertained at the event by performing a breakfast song to celebrate the program’s success. Guests were able to mingle with students, observe the school’s new breakfast cart in action, and enjoy the new yogurt smoothies added to the menu.
In Marshalltown, Iowa, Miller Middle School showcased their Grab-and-Go breakfast model for special guests including members of the Iowa Department of Education, Iowa Department of Public Health and members of Marshalltown’s police and fire departments. The visitors participated in school breakfast, while Miller Middle School staff and students shared their positive experiences with the new Grab-and-Go Breakfast program. Since implementing their breakfast program, changes at the school have included improved focus during class, decreased stomach aches, more energy and fewer headaches during physical education activities, and fewer visits to the school nurse – all because students are properly fueled up.
Meadows Elementary in Topeka, Kan., Fueled Greatness alongside Kansas City Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt and Kansas dairy farmer Justin Ohlde. The special guests delivered breakfast to the classroom pods, handed out milk and yogurt during breakfast service and ate with students in their classrooms.
At Beals Elementary in Omaha, Neb., the school showcased their Grab-and-Go breakfast model for special guests, including former Nebraska Cornhusker and current NFL running back Roy Helu Jr., along with local Nebraska dairy farmer Dave Crook and Nebraska’s Commissioner of Education Dr. Matt Blomstedt. At the event, Roy Helu Jr. and dairy farmer Dave Crook led students in physical activities, interacted with students in the breakfast line, joined them in their classrooms as they ate breakfast and held a Q&A session during the morning announcements.
On March 5 at Mandan High School in Mandan, N.D., more than 100 students enjoyed school breakfast, nearly doubling the average daily breakfast participation. The school showcased their new Grab-and-Go Breakfast program for special guests, and also received a $6,500 grant from the Midwest Dairy Council and Fuel Up to Play 60 to help implement the new Grab-and-Go Breakfast program. The event included the check presentation, as well as an address from Mandan Mayor Arlyn Van Beek, Go! Bismarck-Mandan Chair Katie Johnke and North Dakota dairy farmer Kenton Holle emphasizing the importance of breakfast to “fuel greatness.”
On Friday, March 6, Greg Zuerlein, kicker for the St. Louis Rams, and Chesterfield Mayor Pro Tem Elliot Grissom stopped by Parkway Central Middle School in Chesterfield Mo. to celebrate the school’s Grab-and-Go Breakfast model and share how they fuel greatness. Zuerlein and Grissom addressed students about the importance of school breakfast during their morning announcements, and helped lead first period physical education classes. Leading up to the event, Parkway Central Middle School saw increased school breakfast participation.
At Rochester Alternative Learning Center in Rochester, Minn., Mayor Ardell Brede recognized National School Breakfast Week with a proclamation and a press conference detailing how the school celebrates the importance of breakfast.
Ridgeview Elementary in Olathe, Kan., also showcased their Breakfast in the Classroom model for Kansas City Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt, who was joined for his visit by Kansas dairy farmer Lisa Leach. At the event, Dustin Colquitt and student ambassadors delivered breakfast items to a classroom, distributed items to each student and sat down to eat with the class.
For their Fuel Greatness event, General Beadle Elementary School in Rapid City, S.D. showed how it has eliminated many of the barriers that prevent students from fueling up before they dive into school, work or other activities each day. The school showcased its Breakfast in the Classroom model for special guests, including Lakota Dancers who performed in the school’s second and third grade pod. After the performance, the dancers joined the students for school breakfast.
Having to reschedule due to inclement weather, the students and staff at Asbell Elementary in Fayetteville, Ark., celebrated their Fuel Greatness event on Thursday, March 19, alongside Jerry Franklin, former Arkansas Razorback and current linebacker for the New Orleans Saints, and local Arkansas dairy farmer Ryan Anglin. Jerry and Ryan assisted in distributing breakfast to the classrooms, ate with the students and discussed the importance of breakfast at an all-school assembly.
To learn more about how you can help fuel greatness in your school or community, please visit MidwestDairy.com.