Tripp Middle School wins top nutrition award

TURNER – Tripp Middle School is the first middle school in Maine to earn a Gold Medal in the US Department of Agriculture’s HealthierUS School Challenge.

Students and staff at the RSU 52 school were presented the prestigious award last week by USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon at an assembly also attended by Maine DOE’s Gail Lombardi.

The recognition earned the school a $1,500 check presented by Under Secretary Concannon for use by school food service. Less than 1 percent of schools nationwide have achieved HealthierUS status at the Gold level.

Food Service Director David Roberts along with his staff Lisa Keen, Jessica Hafford and Christine Wilbur; PE instructor Brian Laflamme; health instructor Marcia Fuller; and Principal Gail Marine were also honored with individual awards.

“Teaching students to make healthy food choices is one of the components of health curriculum at Tripp Middle School,” said Fuller. “We focus on skills such as reading and understanding the information found on a food labels. Recognizing healthy portions and learning how to balance calories consumed with calories burned through physical activity.”

The voluntary HealthierUS School initiative improves children’s health by increasing the quality of foods served in schools and providing students with nutrition education and physical education and opportunities for activity.

With the assistance and support of Maine DOE, Maine is a national leader in creating healthy school environments with more than 20 percent of the state’s schools achieving Gold of Distinction, Gold, Silver or Bronze in the challenge compared to an average of 6 percent nationally. Last spring, Mount Desert Elementary became the first school to earn gold in the state, winning the elite Gold of Distinction.

For more about the Maine Department of Education’s school nutrition resources, visit www.maine.gov/education/sfs/index.html. For more about USDA’s HealthierUS School Challenge, visit http://www.fns.usda.gov/healthierus-school-challenge.