The school became the final elementary school out of seven in the Talladega County School System to be named an HUSSC school.
“It’s great to see all you boys and girls so excited this afternoon because you have the best reason in the world to be excited,” Superintendent Suzanne Lacey said. “Your school has done something that not a whole lot of schools have done across this whole nation, so that’s really something to be proud of.
“You have earned this very special reward because of your commitment to excellence, leadership and healthy habits,” Lacey continued. “You do a lot every single day to live up to those high expectations you have not only for yourselves, but also for your school. You have a wonderful child nutrition staff to prepare wonderful, nutritious meals for you, and you have great leadership from all of your teachers and administrators to make sure you’re practicing good habits.”
Following Lacey’s opening remarks, LES student and member of the Lighthouse Team Alexa Pena gave an informative presentation on the seven habits of happy kids. Her presentation preceded a poem read by LES student Jackson Wiley and a musical performance by the school chorus.
June Barrett, program coordinator for the Alabama State Department of Education Child Nutrition Programs, spoke with the energetic crowd of students, asking them to raise their hands if they like a particular fruit or vegetable and giving them an opportunity to answer questions about health and nutrition.
When she asked the students how many school lunches were served during the previous school year nationwide, several students enthusiastically answered the question with their guesses falling in the thousands.
Barrett informed the students that schools across the U.S. served a total of more the five billion school lunches to more than 31 million students.
After taking time to interact with the students, Barrett made the Gold Award for Distinction plaque presentation and commended the staff and students for a job well done.
“We’re very pleased with Lincoln Elementary School for earning the Gold Award for Distinction,” Barrett said. “You all should be very happy and grateful. I’m just really excited for all of the Talladega County Schools that has this honor. This is a team effort, and I would like to think you all have been very involved with reducing the amount of obesity in the state of Alabama.”
According to Barrett, Alabama has dropped from first in the nation in obesity to near the bottom of the top five states.
“It’s definitely a drop, but we need to all continue to work on that by eating more lean meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole-grain breads and cereals, and low-fat milk,” Barrett said. “In addition, we know you’re not eating fried foods or high-sugar foods as much.”
Mary Gaston, a fifth-grade student and member of the school chorus, said she’s learned much about healthy habits since the school began pursuing the challenge.
“It lets us know that we should eat right, play and (be aware) the obesity level is really high,” Gaston said. “We take pacing tests in (physical education) where the teachers tell us to keep a good pace so we won’t get tired too quick. We always run and do exercises in P.E. and eat healthy lunches (where) there’s always fresh fruit or vegetables to eat.”