W.C. Britt Elementary School was one of 26 schools across the United States honored this week for making changes that promote healthier eating and physical activity for students and staff.
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a joint partnership of the William J. Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association, gave the awards through its Healthy Schools Program.
The work of Britt's health specialist helped the school become a bronze-level award winner. Rodney Wayne, a certified P.E. teacher, created a free after-school sports program for the students. Because Britt is a Title I school, parents of many students may not be able to pay for their children to attend after-school programs.
The program, called "Wayne's World Workout," introduces students to games they wouldn't learn during class, such as Ultimate Frisbee and Wayne's own "Wall Soccer." The program is unfunded, and Wayne volunteers to run the two-month program throughout the year - except during the late fall, when he works as a basketball referee.
A healthy lifestyle is also promoted during school hours. The school's food service staff went into classrooms to talk to students about the importance of eating more fruits and vegetables and about healthier ways to prepare food.
"I am very proud of all the work our school staff has done to help promote health and wellness," Britt Principal Beverly Todd-Lee said. "The bronze award is one that reflects the efforts of many but especially Rodney Wayne's initiative to apply for the award."
The Healthy Schools Program is helping reverse the epidemic of childhood obesity, said Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which helped launch the program with an $8 million grant. The Foundation has also promised $20 million to expand the program.
During its pilot year, the Healthy Schools Program helped 230 schools in 13 states. Program team members visited the schools regularly to work with school wellness councils to assess school needs, develop action plans and provide resources and assistance to strengthen the nutrition and physical activity programs.
Schools that want to participate can sign up online at www.healthiergeneration.org/schools.
Technical ed students earn top spots in competition
This June, 54 Gwinnett County students qualified to compete in the 2007 National Technology Student Association Conference and Competition in Nashville, Tenn. More than 5,000 students from across the nation attended the event, and several Gwinnett students placed in the top 10 spots.
The following were among the award winners:
n Parkview High received the 2007 Chapter Excellence Award.
n Grayson's Sarah Sommano placed first in the Promotional Graphics category, and her design will be used for the organization's official poster and graphic communications to promote the 2008 competition.
n Parkview's Miguel Cordon, Jocelyn Cotton, Sang-Keun Kim and Karim Jiwani placed third in the Agricultural and Biotechnology Design category.
n Parkview's Jocelyn Cotton, Josh Irvin, Karim Jiwani and Craig Lynberg placed fourth in the Architectural Model category.
n Parkview's Jocelyn Cotton and Craig Lynberg placed sixth in the Structural Engineering category.
n Parkview's Cody Nichol placed sixth in the Prepared Presentation category and in the Extemporaneous Presentation category.
n Parkview's Haval Amedi placed eighth in the Dragster Design category.
n Parkview's Ashleigh Fox placed eighth in the Career Comparisons category.
n Grayson's Tommy Terrell placed eighth in the Architectural CAD category.
n Parkview's Alisha Dosani, Josh Irvin, Craig Lynberg, Hector Sanchez, Zunair Ukani and Rob Wilkey placed 10th in the Film Technology category.
Heather Darenberg writes about education. Good News From Schools appears in the Sunday edition of the Gwinnett Daily Post.