Sulphur Springs primary students kicked off the year’s Fuel Up to Play 60 campaign Monday with a pep rally featuring Sulphur Springs High School Wildcats football team, cheerleaders, band and drill team.
The high school students encouraged the first and second graders to exercise 60 minutes every day and choose “good-for-you foods,” the drive behind the Fuel Up to Play 60 program.
The football players even talked about the role proper eating and exercise play in their successes and health. Students at each of the three primary schools were encouraged to bring posters they’d made promoting the program to the kick off at SSHS’ Multipurpose Building. Students were challenged to a cheer contest to see which school could give the loudest victory cheer at the end of the event.
As is often the case at football pep rallies and games, small footballs and towels were tossed to the crowd of younger students, and each was given information about their pledge to support the program.
Sulphur Springs campuses have received $36,000 in competitive grant funds the last two years for activities and materials to reinforce the Fuel Up to Play 60’s purpose.
“Over the past two years, SSISD primary schools have received $20,000, along with $8,000 to Sulphur Springs Elementary School and $4,000 at Early Childhood Learning Center and $4,000 at Douglas Intermediate, for a total of $36,000 from our local Dairy Council Dairy Max by completing grant applications,” said physical education teacher Suzy Rost, who helped prepare the grant applications for the primary campuses.
Fuel Up to Play 60 is national program founded by the National Dairy Council and National Football League, in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture.
“It is an in-school nutrient and physical activity program that is making wellness part of the game plan in schools across America. It is a nation-wide movement focused on fighting childhood obesity by empowering kids to take control of their own health,” Rost said.
A portion of the grant funding is being utilized at the three primary campuses — Bowie, Lamar and Travis — to purchase a SPARK curriculum.
At Bowie Primary School, grant funding is also being utilized for miniature exercise equipment. Vending machines have been “revamped by purchasing a milk box to store milk and yogurt.” Each teacher received a book for their classroom to incorporate more of the physical activity into classrooms during breaks, reinforcing the message that “active bodies create active brains.”
“These books will be used by classroom teachers that include activity breaks that are easy to learn and emphasize brain compatible games and activities that help build thinking skills through physical activity,” Rost said.
The students will also have five minute nutritional activities and literacy teachers will have material to “help kids get fit and healthy.”
At Travis, Mike Elliott painted murals depicting Fuel Up to Play 60, including the “my plate” which shows the appropriate balance of foods needed in daily diets as well as pictures of various fruits, vegetables, grains, meats and milk items.
Both Travis and Lamar Primary schools also will be getting gymnastics mats to provide a gymnastics unit for the students.
All three primary campuses will have taste tests as well. Students will have opportunities to try new foods and they will be encouraged to drink milk and choose healthy foods for snack time. For instance, students will be encouraged to eat fruits or vegetables with yogurt instead of chips or other less healthy snacks.
“We push milk because it is so important. It has so many vitamins and calcium that our kids need for the rest of their lives,” Rost noted.
Other campuses housing elementary students that are participating in Fuel Up to Play 60 are expected to kick off the program with activities, including a pep rally for SSES, at another time.
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