The national anti-hunger campaign No Kid Hungry announced this week their 2019 Pennsylvania School Breakfast Heroes. This year’s inductees include educators, administrators, and food service staff from school districts across the commonwealth who were nominated by members of their local community for going above and beyond to make school breakfast possible for all students.
Among this year’s School Breakfast Heroes is Curtisville Primary Center principal, Mrs. Jennifer Cavalancia from Deer Lakes School District, who was nominated by Deer Lakes superintendent Dr. Janell Logue-Belden for her continued efforts to make sure that the children in her school are eating a healthy breakfast to start every single school day.
“Jennifer Cavalancia is such a caring and invested building administrator and she’s an inspiring example for our students, their families and our staff,” said Logue-Belden. “We congratulate Principal Cavalancia for being recognized as a 2019 No Kid Hungry’s School Breakfast Hero and cannot think of a more deserving recipient of this recognition.”
According to Cavalancia, the key to the success of Curtisville’s school breakfast program has been that it is a building-wide wellness initiative. “We have an amazingly committed staff and everyone is on the same page with regard to the value of wellness as it relates to student-achievement,” she said.
Cavalancia’s school has made student wellness a priority and a core tenet of what they do, including includes lessons on healthy eating, free samples of healthier foods, flexible scheduling and even allowing their students to bring their unfinished breakfasts to class with them.
“For us, it just comes down to the fact that we want our students to be successful in everything they do every single day and that starts with making healthy choices during breakfast, which we hope can carry over to making good choices throughout the day and ultimately, throughout their lives,” she said.
Some of her school’s other wellness-related initiatives include, among others, an on-site outdoor fruit orchard, an indoor tower garden, a kinesthetic lab which encourages students to move around as they learn, and a school-wide hallway walk before school starts each Friday.
School breakfast is an energy source for kids across the Pennsylvania. Research shows that hunger has long-term ramifications on children, including lower test scores, weaker attendance rates, and a higher risk of hospitalizations and chronic diseases. Unfortunately, too many Pennsylvania students are missing out on school breakfast because they are unaware of the program or don’t arrive to school in time to participate. We are thankful to our school breakfast heroes who work every day within our community to make sure the school breakfast program reaches all the students who might benefit.