Hillcrest School in Estevan had plenty of reasons to celebrate September 7 during its Walk for Breakfast.
Their highly successful Breakfast Club was launched for the 2012-13 year; this is the second straight year that Hillcrest has offered the Breakfast Club. It was also announced that Hillcrest has received $5,000 through the Mosaic Potash Corporation's Extreme School Makeover program. The funds will be used to further the breakfast club, and to initiate other programs.
Donna Ziegler with the Saskatchewan Nutrition Advisory Council for Children (SNACK) said Hillcrest was chosen for the makeover program due to the strength of their application. Representatives from SNACK, the Saskatchewan chapter of Breakfast for Learning and the Saskatchewan School Boards Association selected the successful applicants.
Physical activity, cultural awareness, nutrition and other factors are evaluated, she said. A lot of emphasis is placed on nutrition.
“Hillcrest had some really good ideas and some innovative thoughts, so that's why we chose them,” said Ziegler.
Hillcrest principal Kathy Fowler said the application detailed Hillcrest's financial need, the programs that Hillcrest been offering, and the direction for the money.
“It was visionary in a lot of ways, but also building on some of the programs we already have,” said Fowler.
The Breakfast Club was a big success in its first year, Fowler said, as about 70 per cent of the 160 students used the program on a daily basis.
Among the programs that could be initiated would be a gardening program that would engage students to grow, and hopefully consume, healthy foods. It will likely at least a year to start the gardening program.
“We have a bigger picture plan to try to map out a new vision for how we're going to use our school yard in a way that's environmentally healthy, and we'll promote students' understanding the need to eat healthily everyday,” said Fowler.
Provincial Education Minister Russ Marchuk was among those in attendance. He offered congratulations to Hillcrest on the successful program.
“Learning best takes place when there is an atmosphere of warmth, of safety, of trust, of excitement,” said Marchuk. “I felt that this morning when I walked through the school and was greeted by your senior students.”
Health issues have been discussed for centuries, Marchuk said. Citing the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, who advocated for the proper amount of nutrition and physical activity, Marchuk said a road to great health exists.
Marchuk said the Hillcrest Breakfast Club, with the efforts of parents and other community members, has helped boost the nutrition levels of the students.
Walk for Breakfast began with students participating in a walk around the neighbourhood. Once they returned, students listened to speeches, and heard the announcement about the Extreme School Makeover. Breakfast was then served to all the students and dignitaries in attendance.