Jupiter Elementary Tops In Nation In Nutritious Meals

By  //  April 17, 2012


Tim Mote of the USDA, right, presents the HealthierUS School Challenge Gold Award to Jupiter Elementary School cafeteria manager Nathan Burch and principal Cynthia Harris. (Image for SpaceCoastDaily.com)

BREVARD COUNTY • PALM BAY, FLORIDA – The Jupiter Eagles have done it again.

Jupiter Elementary School in Palm Bay has been selected as a recipient of the USDA HeathierUS School Challenge Gold Award.

The award recognizes schools participating in the National Lunch Program that offer healthier environments for students by promoting and encouraging nutrition and physical activity.

Since the multi-level program was launched in 2004, awards have been given to schools in 45 states, including Jupiter, which became the first school in Florida to earn a Silver level award in 2008.

Now the school has been honored with the program’s Gold Award, a distinction that carries a cash prize of $1,500.

In presenting the award to the school, Tim Mote of the USDA’s Southeast Office told Jupiter students they can be proud of what they have accomplished.

“You are the best of the best,” Mote said. “It’s all about taking on a challenge and being the very best you can be.”

Mote said there are more than 100,000 public schools in America and for Jupiter to win this award is a significant achievement.

“This certainly doesn’t happen every day and to everyone who helped make Jupiter Elementary one of the very best in America, we salute you,” Mote said.

Jupiter principal Cynthia Harris said the school’s emphasis of incorporating healthy eating and fitness activities led to the award.

“I’m so proud,” Harris said. “We have worked together to achieve this goal.”

Harris said the award included a letter from First lady Michelle Obama congratulating the school for its efforts.

In 2010, Michelle Obama introduced the “Let’s Move!” segment to the HealthierUS  School Challenge and it is intended to help Americans take positive steps to improving personal health though a nutritious diet, physical activity, preventative screenings and healthy food choices.

“Nuritious food combined with personal fitness help our students maximize learning,” Harris said.

She said Jupiter cafeteria manager Nathan Burch and his staff, with the help of Brevard Public Schools registered dieticians Dawn Menz and Lori Nelson submitted the award application to the Florida Department of Education, Food and Nutrition Management last year.

To be eligible for award consideration, wholesale changes were made to the school’s menu and a la carte offerings.