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Published on February 13th, 2015 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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Miss Teen United States helps launch new Fuel Up To Play 60 grant for District Five school

Pictured: Miss Teen United States 2014 Erika Cline (left) and Leaphart Elementary School Principal Kelly Brown (right).

IRMO – Miss Teen United States 2014 Erika Cline made a surprise visit to Leaphart Elementary School recently to help launch a new grant aimed at promoting exercise and nutrition.

The Lexington-Richland School District Five engineering magnet school has been awarded a new Fuel Up To Play 60 grant by the Southeastern United Dairy Industry Association (SUDIA). The $4,000 grant comes just a few months after Leaphart Elementary School received a grant from the Carolina Panthers and SUDIA to promote physical activity. School officials say the latest grant will be used to fund additional programs and projects, including: healthy cooking demonstrations for students, a pilot “breakfast in the classroom” program and playground equipment upgrades.

“It’s so important that we tell the students to eat the right kinds of food and get plenty of exercise,” said Cline, who received cheers and was given high-fives by Leaphart Elementary fourth graders attending the event. “I didn’t get breakfast in the classroom when I was in elementary school, so I have to admit that I’m a little jealous of these students…I think it’s a great way to make sure students are eating the most important meal of the day, and I’m glad that I get to be a role model for them by coming to the school today.”

The grant for Leaphart Elementary School is the third Fuel Up To Play 60 grant District Five has received this school year. H. E. Corley Elementary announced a $4,000 grant on Feb. 2 to pilot a free breakfast program at the school and implement new technology in the school gymnasium. In December, District Five received $10,000 through the NFL Fuel Up To Play 60 Hometown Grant program. Leaphart Elementary and Nursery Road Elementary each received $5,000 to implement programs promoting nutrition and physical activity at the schools.

Launched by the National Dairy Council and the National Football League, Fuel Up To PLAY 60 is one of the nation’s largest in-school wellness and physical activity programs. More than 74,000 schools nationwide, with more than 11.5 million students participate in the program, which encourages students to make a difference in their school environment by consuming nutrient-rich foods (low-fat and fat-free dairy, fruits, vegetables and whole grains) and getting active for at least 60 minutes a day.

For Leaphart Elementary, the latest grant will make a significant and immediate impact, said Principal Kelly Brown.

“Right now we have around half of our fourth grade students eating breakfast at our school…Tomorrow that will increase to 100 percent because of this grant,” Brown said of the pilot breakfast program for Leaphart Elementary fourth graders. “We know that breakfast in the classroom and other components of the grant will boost student achievement and give our students important lessons on health and nutrition that will last a lifetime.”

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