Wake County Public Schools (WCPSS) Superintendent Tony Tata joined Advocates for Health in Action (AHA) in announcing the 2012 Brains and Bodies Award recipients for Wake County elementary and middle schools striving to improve the health of students and staff. Lincoln Heights Elementary in Fuquay-Varina won an award at the Silver level, earning $250 for future wellness initiatives at the school.
“We hope that all schools across Wake County will be inspired by what these award-winning schools are doing—often at little or no expense—to make a difference in their schools and win next year’s awards,” said Sheree Vodicka, director of AHA and WakeMed Community Outreach.
“We are so impressed with the innovative ways these schools are creating a culture of wellness,” Vodicka continued. “What really set the Gold Award winners apart is that they each have a Wellness Committee involving staff and parents—and in some cases students—who are working together to implement their school wellness policy. This type of committee is essential to maintaining and sustaining a comprehensive approach to health and wellness in schools.”
“I congratulate the winning schools and applaud their outstanding efforts to emphasize healthy habits and to create a healthier school environment for staff and students,” said Supt. Tata.
AHA created the awards program in 2010 to celebrate schools’ efforts to create a healthier school environment and help students create lifelong healthy habits. Four schools won Gold awards: Davis Drive Elementary in Cary, Laurel Park Elementary and St. Mary Magdalene Catholic School in Apex, and Underwood Elementary in Raleigh.
Two other schools earned Silver awards: Hunter Elementary in Raleigh and West Lake Elementary in Cary. Five schools won at the Bronze level and two schools earned an Honorable Mention.
AHA created the award program in 2010 to celebrate and recognize schools that are making an effort in this area. The application process is also intended to be educational. All schools that apply for the award receive feedback from AHA about the positive impact the school is making as well as recommendations for further improvement.
“Our Brains and Bodies award winners are making a real difference in their schools by offering free walking and/or running clubs, opting for school fundraisers that focus on fitness rather than unhealthy foods, highlighting healthy choices and shifting the way schools celebrate birthdays,” Vodicka said.
Profiles of each of the award winners are featured on the AHA website, www.AdvocatesForHealthInAction.org as a reference for schools to adapt ideas and programs as they may be appropriate for their school environment.
Advocates for Health in Action fosters and supports community efforts to make healthy eating and physical activity the way of life in Wake County. This collaborative of more than 60 diverse organizations and community members works to shape policy and environments that ensure available and affordable access to healthful foods and physical activity for all community members.