The Rock Creek School District encourages students make healthy eating choices while having regular physical activity. And, when the 2018-2019 school year starts, students and staff will see even healthier changes in the district.
“Right now, we are updating the guidelines from what it used to be,” food service director Pam Holaday said. “Before, we had gotten rid of all our pop and candy machines and all that. We are going back and looking at our policy and areas that need to change. We already have cut down on sugar, but sugar in the classroom won’t probably go into effect the next school year, but we are going to start prepping teachers.”
Treats in the classrooms, such as candy, will be replaced with alternatives that are healthier.
“The guidelines have certain criteria that we must go by for snacks in school,” Holaday said, “The snacks have to be less than 200 calories; sodium, we have to watch the salt level in everything; and the fat limit. We have guidelines from USDA that we have to go by. Mainly, we are trying to get it into the classroom. The main lunch changed, and a la cart changed a couple years ago. We have a food calculator down there [in the cafeteria], and we have to put everything in, and it has to meet those guidelines.”
There are also other areas that need to be changed to align with the new wellness guidelines.
“Basically, there is stuff that we need to be doing in our school curriculum with health that we need to do a better job of,” physical education teacher Jim Johnston said. “There are new state guidelines that we are going to introduce, like the freshman are going to be learning CPR, First Aid and stuff. There is a wellness policy going in each school. What we plan to do is that we want to get the community, schools, teachers and students all together to promote and install health practices in our school system and community.”
Many people will be involved in the updated guidelines. That includes teachers and the students.
“So far, we have about 10 people, and we plan on involving students, too, so we can get their input,” Johnston said. “People involved include the school nurse, a couple parents, LeAnn Rottinghaus, Pam Holaday who is in charge of food services and Jody Miller is co-chairman.”
Some students already know about the guidelines and are aware of the importance of healthy living.
“In forensics and debate, I have had to argue about obesity cases along the lines of, ‘America is a fat country, and we should cut down of how much sugar we are consuming,’ so I think it’s important that we are doing something about it,” freshman Ethan Karnes said.
The updated guidelines will provide not only new health benefits, but other benefits as well.
“The wellness guidelines are a great thing,” freshman Brandy Henry said. “Other than academics, Rock Creek to me is known for sports, and these guidelines will help students get into shape. If more of us are in shape, the better we will be before and during the sport seasons.”
While the new policies may have benefits, some students are still concerned about what will come from the updated guidelines.
“If it is anything like the blanket rule, students will have a big reaction to it,” Karnes said. “In Ms. [Jessica] Augustine’s class, we have ‘Funday Fridays,’ and I worry that will be taken away because of the sugar in the treats we bring. We also have treats in Mr. [Keith] Miller’s class, like chocolate, and I’m worried that might be taken away because they have too much sugar.”
Mainly, most students are excited for the updated guidelines.
“These updated guidelines will affect me in a positive way, and it will likely make my peers a little peeved because, to be honest, we all love some sweets every now and then,” Henry said.
Article and photo by staff member Malea Karnes