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DBrickashaw at Heywood Ave School - Click to enlarge
School Gets Visit From NY Jets Player As Part of Eat Right, Move More Program
For Immediate Release: April 19, 2007
Contact: Lynne Richmond
(609) 633-2954

(ORANGE) – On the lunch line at Heywood Avenue Elementary School in Orange, students can find turkey tacos, pizza with whole wheat crust, salads and a variety of fruit.  The school’s hot breakfast might feature a chicken sausage biscuit or an egg and cheese on a whole wheat bun.   For this commitment to healthy eating, New York Jets offensive tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson today paid a visit to the school to applaud administrators for their nutritional policies and encourage the students to enjoy the nutritious foods offered in the cafeteria.

The Jets and the New Jersey Department of Agriculture joined together for the Eat Right, Move More campaign, which urges Garden State students to eat the healthy foods in school that adhere to the state’s new school nutrition policy.  The program was announced last year by Governor Jon S. Corzine, who has been a major supporter of healthy eating for all New Jersey citizens.

“There has been a lot of enthusiasm among school districts in the state over our new nutrition guidelines that require that students be offered more nutritious foods and be provided with health and wellness education that will last them a lifetime,” said Emma Davis-Kovacs, Director of the Division of Food and Nutrition.  “We commend Heywood Avenue Elementary School for their healthy menu and programs that promote wellness.”

Heywood Avenue Elementary School was one of five schools chosen to receive Jets player visits as part of the Eat Right, Move More contest, which challenged New Jersey schools to submit their meal menus to determine the five schools with the most creative meal selections and that have made the most significant changes to improve their school nutrition environment. 

Ferguson is the spokesman for the Eat Right, Move More campaign and is featured on posters in every school telling students, “When I have a healthy meal, it helps me play my best.  Your school cafeteria has a variety of nutritious foods to keep you going all day long.  So get up, eat right and move more!”

D'Brickashaw Ferguson at Heywood Ave School“I know firsthand that eating right and exercising regularly are crucial, not only for those of us who grow up to become professional athletes, but for all kids,” said Ferguson. “That's why I am honored to be here to discuss with you the importance of nutrition and to congratulate you for taking steps to live a healthy lifestyle. You should all be proud of your accomplishments and the example you have set for other schools throughout New Jersey and across the country.”

Ferguson honored a group of students who “moved more,” Heywood School’s third and fourth and fifth and sixth-grade basketball teams, who made it to the playoffs in the City of Orange recreation basketball program.  Ferguson handed each student a certificate and encouraged them to always stay active and be good sports.

The Orange School District began the school year 100 percent compliant with the state’s Model School Nutrition Policy, a full year ahead of the deadline of September 2007.  School administrators say they began implementing healthier eating and lifestyle policies two years ago.

 “Students are better prepared for learning when they have had a nutritious breakfast, a good night’s sleep, and the energy and confidence to do well each day,” said Faith Alcantara, principal of Heywood School.  “Therefore, we need to attend not only to the academic needs, but their social, emotional, and physical health.  We do this by offering a quality breakfast and lunch program, incorporating movement and exercise in their daily activities in and out of the classroom, and encouraging them and their parents to practice healthy habits at home, so we are educating not only our students but our parents and larger community.” 

Heywood Ave School SignHeywood Avenue School, which has 387 students, pre-kindergarten to 6th grade, conducts a Stop and Stretch program each morning, during which students stretch or exercise to music for two minutes.  The school hosts an annual health fair that features screenings and health information.  And, many of the students participate in the district-wide Marching Majestics drill team.  In the cafeteria, beside the healthier menu offerings, students are encouraged to taste a fruit or vegetable of the month each Thursday.  April’s fruit is apricot. 

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture works closely with the state Department of Education in providing nutrition and wellness education.

“What has happened at Heywood Avenue and the other winning schools shows that with a little effort and creativity, you can change a nutritional culture,” said New Jersey Education Commissioner Lucille E. Davy.  “That’s a major benefit for children now in the classroom, and it impacts their overall health and well-being in adulthood.  By offering kids a choice of healthy foods and showing them that healthy food can taste good, too, you are providing them with a nutrition roadmap for life.”

The Model School Nutrition Policy is the most comprehensive in the nation, covering pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, and limits fat and sugar content in foods offered in a la carte lines, snack bars and vending machines, school stores and as part of on-campus fund-raisers.  For more information on the policy, visit

To be eligible to apply for the Eat Right, Move More program, schools must participate in the national school lunch program, a federally funded program to ensure all children have access to a wholesome meal during the school day, which is administered by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.

As a professional football team that plays in New Jersey, the Jets regularly promote youth health, fitness, and education, particularly in disadvantaged communities. Over the past six years, the Jets and their charitable foundation donated or raised more than $6 million to promote youth health, fitness, and education.

The other four winning schools in the Eat Right, Move More contest will be visited by Jets players in May.  They are:  Sandman Consolidated Elementary School in Lower Township; J. Ackerman Coles Elementary School in Scotch Plains; Springfield Township Elementary School; and Brielle Elementary School.