By Denise Maloney, Early Childhood & Health/Wellness Coordinator for West Iron County Schools
Schools are different today. Children and families are different. Schools must not only meet the academic needs of our students, but their physical needs as well – which are equally important. Fortunately, our school district has made a commitment to creating a healthier generation and helping our students to develop healthy lifestyle habits, that will carry them over a lifetime, long after they leave our classrooms and hallways.
At the end of the school year, Stambaugh Elementary, in West Iron County, Michigan, held its 2nd annual “All-School 5K’ where over 500 K-5th Grade students, staff, administration, school board members, local law enforcement and parents participated. To kick off the event, we played the National Anthem, let off hundreds of red, white and blue balloons, and celebrated being a healthy school by getting out and moving together! It definitely was a community affair! There were water stations manned by school board members, business owners and parents. Our local Sheriff and Police Departments provided assistance crossing streets using four wheelers along the route to pick up children that needed a rest – not many did – just a few Kindergarteners!
At the end of the 5K, we had a booth set up with bottled water and watermelon slices. Our community partner and local hospital, NORTHSTAR Health Systems, also provided granola bars. Once we returned to our school for lunch, we had a Taste-Testing Tent set up in the lunchroom. Once again, NORTHSTAR Health Systems catered several fun and healthy dishes for our students to try. The two new items were brown rice salad with cranberries and celery and roasted chickpeas. Both were delicious and big hits. The food tasting was led by our student team, who gave out nutritional information on the food items and provided an opportunity for the students to vote on which items they liked the best. The ultimate goal is to incorporate the students’ favorites into our school hot lunch menu by giving students a voice in options served. We are happy to say that both items found their way to our school salad bar.
Funds for this event were also used from Fuel Up to Play 60 and Action for Healthy Kids. We are so grateful for all of our fabulous partners!