Seven schools in four districts received one of the nation’s highest nutrition awards for their achievements in the HealthierUS School Challenge last week.
John Magnarelli, USDA’s top regional school lunch official, presented students, administrators and food service staff with plaques and banners at schools in Kittery, York, Wells-Ogunquit CSD and MSAD 72.
The USDA rewards schools at four levels: bronze, silver, gold and gold award of distinction. Eligibility is determined by a number of factors, ranging from students’ required physical activity to the amount of fresh fruit a school offers.
Wells Elementary School earned the silver award, marking Wells-Ogunquit as the second district in Maine to reach such high merit.
Tyler Goodwin, nutrition services director for Wells-Ogunquit Community School District, is particularly proud of his district’s students and faculty. “The cafeteria is the biggest classroom in the school, and what we teach them there can go a long way to help our students make lifelong healthy choices in their daily diet,” Goodwin said.
Schools in the remaining three districts celebrated their recognition as bronze winners in the Challenge. Awarded schools were: Horace Mitchell Primary, Kittery Point, Kittery; Shapleigh School, Kittery; Coastal Ridge Elementary, York; Village Elementary, York; Charles A. Snow Elementary School, Fryeburg, MSAD 72; Brownfield-Denmark Elementary School, Denmark, MSAD 72; and New Suncook Elementary School, Lovell, MSAD 72.
“We are proud of our districts who have led the way to healthier school environments,” said Gail Lombardi, program manager of Child Nutrition Services at the Maine Department of Education. “They have created places where nutrition education messages are reinforced through the positive changes they have made to both meals and other foods sold to students.”
Since the Challenge’s inception in 2004, more than 50 Maine schools have received awards.