Good news from schools: Britt Elementary students talk about school's healthy changes in D.C.

Two students and a teacher from W.C. Britt Elementary in Snellville will visit Washington, D.C., Monday and Tuesday to talk with lawmakers about healthy changes in their school.

Their visit is part of the nationwide Healthy Schools Program, an initiative to prevent childhood obesity by helping schools become healthier places to learn and work.

Britt Elementary health teacher Rodney Wayne will accompany fifth-grade students Ryan Pike and Tatiana Wayne. The students were selected as school representatives based on a local school essay contest titled "Eating My Way to a Healthy Lifestyle." The Britt Elementary team will join students from more than 20 other U.S. schools in addressing members of Congress about school efforts to provide more nutritious foods, increase opportunities for physical activity and establish staff wellness programs, according to Gwinnett County Public Schools.

Wayne and the students plan to speak to lawmakers about the school's initiatives such as encouraging parents to bring healthy snacks when attending a school special occasion, eating a healthy breakfast and creating a school track team that meets after school, along with other programs to help students and staff members make healthy choices and develop lifelong healthy habits.

In addition to their visit with Congress, the trip to the nation's capital will include other educational activities as well. The students will take a guided tour of the U.S. Capitol, and they hope to visit other historic landmarks between meetings with Congressional leaders.

The Healthy Schools program is an initiative of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a joint venture between the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation. The program offers participating schools on site and online support, including best practice guides, Web-based seminars and tools to promote physical activity and healthy eating among students and staff. The support is available at no cost to any school in the country - public, private or charter.

This is not the first honor Britt Elementary has earned for its healthy initiatives. During the summer of 2007, the school received the Bronze Award for promoting healthy lifestyles from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

Heather Darenberg writes about education. Good News From Schools appears in the Sunday edition of the Gwinnett Daily Post. For more good news, visit www.gwinnettdailypost.com on Monday.