Bells takes top honors in making Colleton’s children healthier | News | The Press and Standard

by | May 27, 2016 5:00 pm

Last Updated: May 25, 2016 at 1:52 pm

Trying to get your kids to eat more fruits and vegetables? Exercise more?
Colleton County Schools are trying to help with that by participating in the MUSC Boeing Center for Children’s Wellness’ program.
Last Thursday night, the school district was awarded $10,000 from the center for its efforts to make Colleton’s children healthier. The award was presented at a banquet at Forest Circle Middle School’s cafeteria.
Bells Elementary School took top honors, taking home $3,000 to use in its program, headed by school nurse Lily Heyward. The two other top contenders were Colleton County High School and Cottageville Elementary.
Heyward said she hasn’t decided specifically what she’s going to do with the extra $3,000 yet, but it will all go to helping keep Bells’ kids healthy. “I think most of the money will probably go to purchasing more stuff for the students to keep them active — bouncing ***** to use in the classrooms, more PE equipment. And maybe a portion for staff: videos and making the staff lounge more ‘loungeable,’” Heyward said.
This past year, the school did a weekly “Secret Fruit and Vegetable Buddy” program where a person whose name was drawn brought fruits and vegetables to share.
But the biggest thing, Heyward said, was a fruit and vegetable stand. “The kids loved it a lot,” she said. PE teacher Sharon Williams would purchase fresh fruits and veggies from a farmers market. Then students would bring a grocery list from home and purchase items for 25¢-$1 to either take home or eat at school.
Students also participated in the Rice Festival Walk, a water campaign, S.C. Walk-To-School Day (which they did in the gym since Bells is a rural school) and visited a local strawberry farm.
The school also got a grant from the S.C. state department to allow students to try different fruits or vegetables. Twice a week, each class got a basket and every student had a chance to taste the fruit or vegetable of the day.
In PE, students walked an extra 5-10 minutes before regular class started. They also did “brain teasing” exercises in the classroom, such as 9-5=4 and then four exercises such as jumping jacks.
Making Bells’ students healthier isn’t a mission that just started this year. Last year, the students had a garden and participated not only in the MUSC-Boeing program but won a bronze medal in the Clinton Foundation’s Alliance for a Healthier Generation program. And in 2013-14, they did Let’s Move! Active Schools.
One of Heyward’s favorite things about working with the healthier lifestyle programs is watching kids actually choose healthy lunches. The cafeteria offers salads on Tuesdays and Thursdays and “it’s amazing to see kids go through the line and pick salad for lunch instead of a hot dog or a hamburger, then sit there and watch them enjoy a salad,” she said. In addition to salads, the cafeteria now offers a more health-conscious menu in general with no fried foods and whole wheat or grain breads.
So what were the kids’ favorite vegetables? “Uhmm, well. That’s hard to say,” Heyward said. “But they did love the fruits, especially the pineapple pushups.”

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