As a Child Nutrition Associate specializing in school breakfast program expansion, I don’t typically see others who are more aflutter about school breakfast successes than I am. However, Friday was an exciting day for me as I witnessed a crowded cafeteria bellow boisterous cheers and perform lively dances to celebrate such a success. The assemblage included Noel Community Arts School (NCAS) students and staff, Denver Public Schools district staff, business and government leaders and famed Denver Bronco, Eric Decker. The celebration was a joint effort between Western Dairy Association and Denver Public Schools to kick-off National School Breakfast Week and Fuel Up to Play 60.
To begin festivities, Eric Decker and Governor Hickenlooper entered the cafeteria pushing carts in typical DPS Breakfast in the Classroom fashion. Following their entrance, lively music and dance from a group of students electrified the audience. NCAS Principal Stacy Miller, DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg, a Western Dairy Council Member, Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture John Salazar, Governor Hickenlooper and Eric Decker all spoke to the importance of two daily habits: eating a nutritious breakfast and getting 60 minutes of physical activity. Governor Hickenlooper made a proclamation that Colorado will participate in National School Breakfast Week March 5-9, 2012.
The climax of the event came with the announcement by Decker that ninth grade student Leticia Perez won the essay contest and an autographed jersey from Decker. Perez wrote a challenge to us all to “thrive” through daily physical activity and a nutritious breakfast.
Perez hit it spot on referring to breakfast and activity as ways to thrive. Most of us grew-up hearing “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” when we complained about it. Well, this is not just a saying to get kids to do something they don’t want to do. Even more beneficial to students than simply eating breakfast is eating breakfast at school after the first bell rings. Such breakfast at school improves students’ brain functions and math scores while it reduces absences, tardies and behavior problems. In a nutshell, breakfast at school, particularly Breakfast in the Classroom, helps students thrive.
As Perez says, “Let’s thrive!” through Breakfast in the Classroom and daily activity.