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Grant will help students learn healthy lifestyle tips

Published November 10. 2010 05:00PM

Second grade pupils at Peters Elementary will soon learn helpful tips to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Karen Nicholas, assistant to the superintendent, informed Northern Lehigh School Board on Monday that the school has been awarded a grant through the Highmark Healthy High 5 School Challenge grant in the amount of $6,162.

Nicholas said Principal Paul Rearden helped secure the grant, which will implement a series of workshops that will provide students with enhanced nutrition education.

With rates of childhood obesity on the rise, the grant will support the school's efforts to help students adopt healthy behaviors that will stay with them for a lifetime.

As part of a partnership with the Weller Health Education Center to improve nutrition education, the program is expected to reach 140 children in second grade.

"The health and wellness of our students is a top priority," Rearden said. "This grant will allow us to provide children with behavior-focused strategies to promote healthy eating."

Since 2007, the Highmark Foundation, through the Highmark Healthy High 5 School Challenge, has awarded more than $5.5 million to over 750 grants to schools in 49 counties across Pennsylvania for programs that provide nutrition education, enhance nutrition choices and increase opportunities for physical activity.

"Physical activity and nutrition play a critical role in reducing childhood obesity," said Yvonne Cook, president of the Highmark Foundation. "With this grant, Peters Elementary School will have additional resources available to educate students - and their parents - on simple lifestyle changes that can be made to improve the health and well-being of our children."

For more information on the Highmark Healthy High 5 School Challenge grant program, visit

Highmark Healthy High 5 is a five-year $100 million children's health promotion initiative of the Highmark Foundation. The mission of the initiative is to improve the health of children and adolescents ages 6-18 by providing them with the tools and practices needed to make informed decisions about living healthier lives.

Highmark Healthy High 5 addresses five critical children's health promotion issues - nutrition, physical activity, self-esteem, grieving and bullying prevention - by raising awareness, changing behavior through grants and programs, and providing resources to parents, schools and communities served by the Highmark Foundation.

For more information, visit or call 800-789-1726.

Also as part of her report, Nicholas noted that an event through the school's Title I Parent Improvement program last month was a huge success.

Nicholas said there were over 195 students and parents who traveled by bus to Barnes & Noble. The students had a $10 gift card to buy a book of their interest, she said.

"We received many favorable comments," Nicholas said. "That's what our Title I Reading program is about."

Also on Monday, the board presented a resolution to recognize the 2009-10 high school baseball and softball teams.

Both the teams won a Colonial League Championship on the night of May 20, 2010, which last month prompted the board to proclaim that date as The Night of the Bulldog.

Board President Edward Hartman congratulated varsity baseball coach Erv Prutzman, who was in attendance.

"We thank you and everything you do," Hartman said.

In turn, Prutzman thanked the board for its support.

In an unrelated matter, the board recognized retirees Nevin Ranck and Sandra Vajda for their years of service to the district.

Ranck, a high school physics/computer applications teacher, retired June 21 after 30 years with the district.

Vajda, a high school Spanish teacher, also retired June 21 after 27 years with the district.

Hartman lauded both individuals, though only Ranck was in attendance.

"Congratulations to both of you people for a job well done over the years," Hartman said.

Under his report, Superintendent Michael Michaels noted that Nov. 14-20 is American Education Week.

Michaels also announced that the school board's Reorganizational Meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Dec. 6, followed by the regularly scheduled board meeting at 7:30 p.m.

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