For Immediate Release: April 24, 2015
Contact: Lynne Richmond
(BUTLER) – The New Jersey Department of Agriculture along with New York Jets punter Ryan Quigley and tight end Chris Pantale today honored Aaron Decker School in Butler as one of this year’s first-prize winners in the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s Jets PLAY 60 “Eat Right, Move More” program.
The Department of Agriculture (NJDA) and New York Jets players Quigley and Pantale held a special program for the students and presented the school with a $5,000 prize to be used for kitchen updates and physical education equipment, made possible by the Jets, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the American Dairy Association & Dairy Council, Inc.
“Aaron Decker School students are benefitting from the administration’s commitment to providing highly nutritional options in the school cafeteria as well as encouraging physical fitness both during and after school,” said Rose Tricario, Director of the NJDA’s Division of Food and Nutrition. “We are proud to honor their achievement through this program.”
The Jets PLAY 60 “Eat Right, Move More” program, a collaboration between the Jets, NJDA, RWJF and the American Dairy Association & Dairy Council, Inc., encourages New Jersey school children to take advantage of healthy foods in their school cafeterias and become more active.
NJDA's Arleen Ramos Szatmary; Butler School Superintendent Elaine Baldwin; Decker School principal Virginia Scala; Business Administrator Barbara Murphy; Retired phys. ed. teacher who applied for the program, Liz Benne; Ryan Quigley; Chef Kim and Chris Pantale
To win, schools had to show they offer healthier snacks and have 100 students or more participate in the Jets PLAY 60 Challenge, where students logged at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day for four weeks. Additionally, school lunch and breakfast menus were reviewed and the schools had to show strong support and demonstrate efforts to improve nutrition and physical activity among their students.
“I am honored to be here to present Aaron Decker School with its $5,000 prize and celebrate the school’s commitment to healthy eating and physical fitness,” said Jets player Ryan Quigley.
“Aaron Decker School is setting an example for the entire state and helping its students develop healthy eating and exercise habits that will last a lifetime,” said Jets player Chris Pantale.
Aaron Decker School has 396 pre-kindergarten through fourth-grade students. Their food service provides a daily salad bar with changing fresh vegetables, fruits and salads. They also offer pre-made salads. Snacks offered include whole grain cookies, baked chips and yogurt.
The school also offers a daily morning jog-walk program before school for parents and students. Students can earn miles for rewards and also use the Project Fit Equipment to earn miles. They have a Bouncing Bulldogs after-school club where students practice jumping routines and tricks with jump ropes. Approximately 300 students took part in the Jets Play 60 program.
“We have participated in this program in the past and it is a wonderful way for kids to stay fit and develop lifelong health habits,” said school principal Virginia Scala. “Parents and students at Aaron Decker love to be active.”
Aaron Decker School was one of four first-place winners in this school year’s Play 60 “Eat Right, Move More” program. The other winners, Glen Meadow Middle School in Vernon and Hoboken Dual Language Charter School in Hoboken also were awarded a $5,000 prize and received a Jets player visit. Adamsville Primary School in Bridgewater will have a program on May 29. Additionally, there were four second-place schools who received a $1,000 prize: Joseph J. Catena Elementary School in Freehold, Lafayette School in Bound Brook, Sumner Elementary School in Camden and Long Branch Middle School in Long Branch. The Grand Prize school was Lakewood High School, which was presented with a $15,000 prize, a Jets player visit and a group from the school was honored on the field at a Jets’ home game last December.
As a professional football team that plays in New Jersey, the Jets take great pride in a long-standing, year-round commitment to our community. Programs funded by the New York Jets Foundation look to positively influence the future for countless young men and women in the tri-state area by promoting fitness and supporting youth football, particularly in disadvantaged communities.