Denton Independent School District principal Sam Kelley will speak before lawmakers and educators in Washington D.C. this week to spread a simple message: students need a healthy breakfast.
The Hodge Elementary School principal was selected by Kellogg’s to speak at their "Share Breakfast" rally on March 7 on Capitol Hill.
She and school nurse Sam Teel will be recognized at the event for their efforts to promote a healthy lifestyle at the school.
For the past year the staff at Hodge has been aggressively expanding their breakfast program.
Like most schools they’ve long offered breakfast to students in need but with the new initiative they’ve tried to take it a step further to reach the entire student body.
"You have to even educate them to the value of it,” said Kelley.
Along with offering the meal they’ve expanded they’re actively teaching students how to make healthy choices at the breakfast table and why it’s so important to start off the meal right.
They’re expanding that message out to the community with education and events like inviting parents to breakfast with their kids all this week at Hodge. "This is a marriage between the school and the home," said Kelley.
They hope by doing so those students that don’t have breakfast at school will take the initiative to eat at home and eat right.
The school is also teaching students the important of physical education along with healthy eating.
Teel says when the idea first came up they were simply trying to help out a few students but decided instead to branch out and make sure the entire student body was working towards a healthier lifestyle. He says they never knew their plans would grow into an example for other schools though.
"We were just trying to...what can we do to help our kids? Get them out of the clinic in the morning for headaches, stomach aches, I'm tired, and get them into the classroom," he said.
Kelley says now that they are being used as an example she hopes the message they’re trying to spread to their small community will reach the rest of the district and maybe districts all across the country.
"All great things start with small ideas and when people collectively agree that this is important, I think that great things happen,” she said.
The team leaves for Washington D.C. on Wednesday and will speak on Thursday morning.
As part of their success Hodge Elementary will receive a $2,500 grant from Kellogg’s to continue expanding the breakfast program and a $2,000 grant from Action for Healthy Kids to increase participation of eating breakfast among students and staff.
Hodge staff and students will also be featured in a Kellogg’s video campaign talking about the importance of breakfast.