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Two schools take bronze awards
DIXFIELD -- Two RSU 10 schools -- Meroby Elementary School and the Hartford-Sumner School -- have received the USDA's HealthierUS School Challenge awards at the bronze level.
RSU 10 Food Services Director Jeanne LaPointe told the news at the RSU 10 Board of Directors meeting held on Aug. 12.
"This is a challenge award through USDA and USDA encourages all schools to apply for this. We're going to have a celebration at the schools. There is a $500 cash award," she said.
The higher the level of the award, the larger the hoops get. "We were encouraged to start small and we're happy with bronze. But it doesn't mean that Meroby won't be gold someday. Just another excuse for another celebration," said LaPointe.
"The HealthierUS School Challenge is all about improving the quality of the food we serve and improving students with nutrition and physical activity. Meroby had to show us how much physical activity was happening in a week. That was a huge component of the award. So we're very excitied and we plan to spend this year reapplying for the other schools that did not receive the award. It's an open award and you can apply at any time," she said.
They will also receive a nice plaque and a banner. It's a very nice award.
LaPointe said RSU 10 also received another grant -- a $5,000 non-challenge grant. It's the Healthy School Food Champion Grant Program, sponsored by Harvard Pilgrim.
"I worked with a group of food service directors (Leavitt, Auburn, Lewiston, Poland, Gray) and we all have tried very hard, working with Carl Costanzi, who oversees the 5-2-1-0 program at Oxford County and the 5-2-1-0 coordinator of Androscoggin County, and they worked hard to get this grant application for us," she said.
"We just had to tell how we were going to spend it and we chose Mountain Valley Middle School because it has the oldest cafeteria in the RSU and it was really needed...we're going to work on marketing and smarter lunch room initiatives, and putting some equipment into that serving line with that $5,000," said LaPointe.
"And we will report back because we have to report back to Harvard Pilgrim how we're going to spend that money, and what we've done, sort of before and after studies, and then expand it into the other cafeterias in the RSU. So we're going to see what works, what maybe didn't work as well, getting student feedback, and take it from there," she said.