The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

March 7, 2013

HIGH FIVE FOR MILK

Coker-Wimberly celebrates School Breakfast Week

THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
Miranda Baines

TARBORO — Winnie the Cow paid a friendly visit to Coker-Wimberly School Wednesday morning, arriving in her cow truck to give hugs, handshakes and high-fives to the students in celebration of National School Breakfast Week.

“This year I wanted to do something different to promote milk consumption,” said Ruth McDowell, child nutrition director for Edgecombe County Public Schools.

Elizabeth Lane’s first-grade class expressed their excitement about meeting Winnie the Cow, and shared their knowledge of the nutritional value of milk.

“Giving the high-five” was Chy’asia Garrett’s favorite part of meeting Winnie the Cow. She said she enjoys drinking chocolate milk.

“Milk makes your bones grow,” said Joel Sabalza.

“It makes you get stronger,” Zyrian Pittman chimed in.

“It makes you grow healthy,” Samuel Ivey added.

Cloey Garris knew the ingredient in milk that strengthens bones –

“Calcium!”

Lane said she has talked to her students in class about nutrition and the importance of eating fruits and vegetables and drinking milk every day. The elementary school has a daily trivia contest this week and the students with the right answers enter a drawing to win prizes.

“What are the five food groups?” and “What is the most important meal of the day?” are among the trivia questions.

“Breakfast” is the answer to the last question. Studies show that students who eat breakfast at school increase their math and reading scores and raise their cognitive speed and memory, according to the Food Research and Action Center.

“It’s a race for any family to get their kids ready, fed and out the door in time for school,” McDowell said. “Knowing that their children can eat a healthy breakfast at school can be a huge relief for parents.”

The district serves breakfast to approximately 3,200 students daily, McDowell said. About 4,500 students eat lunch at school every day.

Winnie the Cow visited North Edgecombe High School later Wednesday morning, and played basketball with the students. Cafeteria staff served 8-ounce containers of milk to students. McDowell hopes that the new look will encourage milk consumption among high-school students, who typically don’t drink as much milk as younger students. McDowell said the school cafeterias serve only 1 percent and skim milk to students, in accordance with federal nutrition standards.

Another event celebrating school breakfast week is the “milk mustache” booth, set up at West Edgecombe Middle School today. Students will compete for prizes to see who has the biggest milk mustache. The school also has a “best dressed star” contest during breakfast today. The winner will be crowned “Breakfast Cougar.”

The contest reflects the theme of this year’s National School Breakfast Week, “Be a Star with School Breakfast,” highlighting the role of eating a healthy breakfast in making students “shine” like their favorite movie and TV stars and athletes.