I just took part in an exciting event at Brock Elementary School in Slidell, Louisiana. The school proudly hosted a visit by First Lady Michelle Obama on September 8, when she spoke about her Let’s Move! initiative and the importance of a healthy lifestyle for kids. As you can imagine, the school administration, food service staff and the students were all thrilled to have the First Lady at their school. This school was chosen because of the exemplary job they have done in providing healthy meals and physical activity for their students.
Prior to the First Lady’s arrival, I was honored to present our agency’s highest award in the HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) to 25 elementary and junior high schools in the St. Tammany Parish School System. HUSSC recognizes schools that meet strict requirements for nutritious meals and physical activity for students. I presented gold-with-distinction medals and certificates to each of the school’s principals and food service staff, and for the first time a monetary award accompanied the recognition. Each school received $2,000 for a total award of $50,000 to the school district’s food service program.
I’m sure that the visit by the First Lady will be remembered here for years to come. I’m proud to be part of the effort to end childhood hunger and reduce obesity, but we can’t do it alone. In addition to federal and state funding and programs, it takes the earnest participation of parents, children, and the community, as well as the schools. Congratulations to the St. Tammany Parish Public School System for providing a shining example of how schools can help in the fight against childhood obesity.