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Marylin Avenue Recognized with the HealthierUS School Challenge Award

December 14, 2018 - Livermore, CA - This month, students at Junction Avenue K-8 and Marylin Avenue Elementary enjoyed events celebrating healthy eating and exercise, and recognizing their achievements in promoting healthy school environments. Both schools were presented with the HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) award by the USDA. Barbara Lee, Director of Campus Catering, and Superintendent of School Kelly Bowers, Ed.D. presented the schools with their awards at assemblies that included student performances, sporty spirit days, and bike giveaways.

Junction Principal Dayna Taylor, dressed in an apple costume, shared some “corny” fruit jokes to the delight of her audience. The event at Junction included a joint presentation to Marylin Avenue. Both principals were presented with special recognition by Shawn Wilson from Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty’s office for their efforts to lead healthy changes in their schools and granted $1,000 each to continue this good work. Also in attendance to honor both schools were Dana Dodge from the Department of Education, Liana Tragni from the Office of Congressman Eric Swalwell, Bob Woerner, City of Livermore Vice Mayor, and members of the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District (LVJUSD) Board of Education.

During the student-led Marylin Avenue assembly, Principal Nathanson set aside time to present the award to her students to recognize their enthusiasm for working toward a healthy lifestyle that earned them a silver HUSSC award. Principal Denise Nathanson, Barbara Lee, and Superintendent Bowers presented the award to the school along with a bike giveaway to one lucky student.

The HUSSC award honors efforts to create healthier environments at schools through the promotion of good nutrition and physical activity. Junction Avenue earned bronze status and Marylin Avenue earned silver status for the second time. This achievement is the result of two years of intensive work on the part of LVJUSD’s Campus Catering department, school staff and students, and parent groups. “I am encouraged by the healthy choices our students are making at lunchtime and throughout the day,” said Lee. “As we build the menu selection, specifically the salad bar, we know the students are willing to try new fruits and vegetables. We also recognize that healthy choices need to be fast and convenient for our active students.”

Criteria for the awards included updated menus to include an increased variety of fruits and vegetables, more whole grain foods, low-fat or fat-free milk, and focused physical activities that encouraged students to incorporate more exercise into their day. As a result of this program, Junction Avenue K-8 School noted a substantial increase in the California Physical Fitness scores.

HUSSC is a voluntary national certification initiative for schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program. Team Nutrition Schools commit to take the lead in making nutritional changes, conducting nutritional education activities and events, and implementing innovative materials from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.

For more information on Team Nutrition please visit the USDA website.