SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP SCHOOL HONORED FOR NUTRITION PROGRAM
Contact: Lynne Richmond
(SPRINGFIELD) – Children at Springfield Township Elementary School today lunched on football-shaped chicken nuggets and Smiley fries, all baked not fried, to commemorate a visit by New York Jets running back Stacy Tutt. The six-foot-two, 235-pound professional football player stopped by to commend school officials for their commitment to healthy eating and good health and to 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 the New York Jets and Governor Jon S. Corzine, who has been a major supporter of healthy eating for all New Jersey citizens.
“Our new nutrition guidelines that require wellness education and the offering of more nutritious foods to students are scoring big with both school districts and the students themselves,” said Arleen Ramos-Szatmary, Assistant Coordinator of School Nutrition Programs for the Department. “We applaud Springfield Township School’s enthusiasm and their healthy menu and programs that promote good health.”
Tutt, now in his second season with the Jets, spent some time at recess with a group of students then addressed the entire student body at an assembly. He said he knows the benefits of healthy eating and exercise from his years of playing football.
“I am honored to be here today to discuss the importance of nutrition and exercise,” said Tutt. “In my own life, eating healthy foods and exercising regularly help me to be a better football player. A healthy lifestyle helps all of us achieve our dreams no matter what we hope to accomplish in our lives.”
Springfield Township 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.
The school also was randomly selected out of the five schools to attend the December 10, 2006 Jets game against the Buffalo Bills. Food Service Director Lori Nelson, Teacher Jared Fudurich, and students Noah Elliott, Colin Fitzpatrick, Zack Lofferdo and Reed Quinerly were treated to a VIP reception at the stadium, then brought down onto the field to watch pre-game warm-ups and to be honored between the third and fourth quarters. The children were selected to attend the game through a lottery.
There are 350 kindergarten through sixth-graders in Springfield Township School. In addition to teaching the food pyramid and encouraging students to eat healthy snacks at school, third and fourth grade students can participate in a walking club during recess. Next school year, an intergenerational walking club will be launched for fifth and sixth graders to walk with local senior citizens. The cafeteria has choices of whole wheat breads and recently, students were encouraged to try new fruits and voted the pineapple as the best tasting.
“Recent research has affirmed what we already know – that good nutrition impacts a student’s ability to learn, study and stay on task,” said Helena Sullivan, Springfield School Superintendent. “We are pleased that our healthy policies prove that the research is correct.”
The New Jersey Department of Agriculture works closely with the state Department of Education in providing nutrition and wellness education.
“What has happened at Springfield Township School 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 www.nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/fn/childadult/school_model.html.
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; Heywood Avenue Elementary School, Orange; J. Ackerman Coles Elementary School in Scotch Plains; and Brielle Elementary School.