Corinth schools honored for national health achievements

CORINTH – Three elementary schools were honored Friday for achieving the gold standard of excellence in nutrition and physical activity.
The three Corinth schools were among only 622 of the nation’s approximately 100,000 elementary schools to achieve this honor, said Janey Thornton, undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, who was on hand for the recognition event.
Thornton presented plaques to principals and food service managers at the schools: Tanya Nelson, principal, and Melissa Killough, manager, West Corinth Elementary; Denise Webb, principal, and Melissa Bain, manager, East Corinth Elementary; and Dave Jennings, principal, and Charlotte Essary, manager, South Corinth Elementary.
The program is important, Thornton said, because it teaches children “how to eat at home and in the community every day of their lives.”
Eat healthy, get moving
The program, called the HealthierUS School Challenge, recognizes schools that create a healthier school environment with more nutritious food choices and more physical activity throughout the day.
Levels of superior performance are recognized with Bronze, Silver, Gold and Gold of Distinction awards.
“It’s not just the award itself,” Thornton said. “More importantly, it shows the strong relationships among the people in the school district who must work cooperatively to achieve these goals.”
Corinth achieved the goals in part through a $100,000 Healthy Schools Initiative grant that helped them implement “Health is Academic” curriculum at East Corinth Elementary.
The district also removed fried foods from the lunch menu and increased the amount of time students spend in the gym.
With a healthy schools grant from the state Department of Education, funded by the Bower Foundation, the district promoted the eating of more fruits and vegetables.
Then, in 2007, the district was awarded additional grant funds that enabled them to install oven steamers to replace fat fryers.
The HealthierUS School Challenge award also earns the recipient a banner that each school is asked to display publicly as encouragement to the entire community to choose healthier lifestyles.
The Gold Award not only acknowledges accomplishments, Thornton said, but also is a two-year certification that challenges the schools to reach even higher levels of excellence.
Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or lena.mitchell@djournal.com.

Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal