Breakfast Promotion Held at Smith Middle School
During the first week back from winter break, students at Smith Middle School received extra incentives to participate in grab-n-go style breakfasts, and on Friday, January 11, the school cafe prepared 500 chicken biscuits for free distribution to all students. The three day breakfast event, officially titled “Eat-UP”, was designed and organized by Terri Chapman, dietetic intern with Lynne Privette, in Child Nutrition.
Chapman said, “While breakfast at school is no new thing, Lynne was quick to share with me that SMS had just restructured how they deliver breakfast, taking it out of the cafeteria and moving it into the hallways. Research supports that more kids will eat breakfast if it is accessible to them and meets their time demands, so it is logical to place kiosks along the walkways near the entrances of the building and permit them to enjoy it in their first class or homeroom.”
The breakfast stations greeted students at both main entrances, from the bus circle as well as the front entrance used by car-riders. Those who bought breakfast Wednesday or Thursday received scratch-off prize tickets, as well as stickers. Chapman said the photo station in the eighth grade hallway was a big hit with props, frames and Polaroid To-Go photos. On Thursday, January 10, University of North Carolina varsity swimmer, Patrick Cusick, was the guest server at one kiosk. Chapman noted that on Friday, for anyone who somehow missed the kiosks on entering the building, a megaphone helped guide students back to the entrance for their "TODAY ONLY free Chicken Biscuits." “Several students were noted to change their minds and head back for food!” Chapman said.
On most mornings at SMS, about 60 students buy breakfast, even though roughly 200 Smith students are eligible for the meal at free/reduced rates daily. Chapman said, “Through research conducted at the end of the fall semester, we discovered a common misperception: many students thought school breakfast was only available for free/reduced kids. This is not true, so one element of the promotion was to dispel this myth. The ultimate goal of Eat-UP is to see an increase in breakfast participation, indicating an increase in the number of students showing up for class with boosted brainpower simply because they have started their day with a meal.”
The advice about eating breakfast was probably not new to any of the students, and certainly not to SMS staff and parents, but Chapman and Privette, along with the entire nutrition staff at Smith, hope more students gained awareness of the value of a healthy, tasty meal to start the day. “Advantages of eating breakfast include mental clarity, improved grades, and attentiveness, so getting breakfast into students before they tackle their day is crucial!” said Chapman.