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Photo of Rob Turner signing an autograph for a Samsel Upper School student - Click to enlarge
For Immediate Release: April 1, 2009
Lynne Richmond
(609) 633-2954

(PARLIN) – New York Jets offensive lineman Rob Turner and New Jersey Department of Agriculture representatives visited Samsel Upper Elementary School in Parlin today to celebrate the school’s commitment to good nutrition and increased activity. Samsel Upper was one of five winners this school year in the Eat Right, Move More program.

“We thank the Jets for partnering with the Department of Agriculture in stressing to students the importance of eating the nutritious food offered in our state’s school cafeterias and increasing their activity levels,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher. “Samsel Upper Elementary School has demonstrated that good nutrition and being physically active is as important to a growing child as is nourishing the mind.”

The Eat Right, Move More program, a partnership between the Jets and the Department of Agriculture, encourages New Jersey school children to take advantage of healthy foods in their school cafeterias and become more active. It challenged New Jersey schools to submit their meal menus to determine the schools with the most creative meal selections and that have made the most significant changes to improve their school nutrition environment. The prize for the winning schools was a visit from NY Jets players.

Jill Niglio of the NJDA speaks at Samsel Upper Elementary School Eat Right, Move More program

Turner, a 24 year old, 6 foot 4 inch tall University of New Mexico graduate, has been with the Jets since 2007. The visit to Samsel Upper was his first Eat Right, Move More event.

“Eating well and exercising often are two very important parts of my life as a professional football player,” said Turner. “I am very impressed that the students here at Samsel Upper Elementary are committed to those habits that will help each of them lead healthier lives.”

This year’s Eat Right, Move More program focused on School Breakfast and how schools have made efforts to offer and promote healthy and interesting morning menu choices. Samsel Upper Elementary School, which houses 900 fourth and fifth grade students, has offered breakfast in the cafeteria prior to the start of the school day for four years. School principal Edward Aguiles said they have had various contests and promotions for the breakfast program that have helped to increase the number of students participating on a daily basis.

“Many of our students, teachers, and parents are Jets fans and this recognition by them will undoubtedly reinforce our efforts to make certain that everyone involved with the school community leads a healthy and active lifestyle,” said Aguiles. “Our kitchen staff and cafeteria workers look out for our students as if they were their own children. They make certain that meals are healthy, with plenty of choices for making good decisions when it comes to what our students put in their bodies. Our staff also looks out for our students to make certain that everyone is eating and eating well.”

Aguiles said there are posters in the cafeteria promoting good eating choices and choices for staying active. The school’s physical education teachers have built in to their lessons for the year a circuit training unit in which students are taught how to measure their weight and Body Mass Index (BMI) accurately. They also have afterschool activities sponsored by the Sayreville Community Center where students play a variety of sports and learn about the proper way to warm up for activities to avoid injury.

In addition, the school has a vegetable garden, growing tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, green beans, peppers, parsley and other herbs the past two years. The produce that was collected was given to parents of students in the summer school program. Aguiles said they plan to use the garden as a pumpkin patch this year.

Four other schools from around the state were selected as winners in the Eat Right, Move More program: Passaic County Technical Institute (PCTI) in Wayne; Bartle Elementary School in Highland Park; Somerset School in North Plainfield; and Berkeley Township Elementary School. PCTI was the grand prize winner and was visited by Jets offensive tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson in December. The school also sent representatives to the December 14 Jets game at Giants Stadium who were honored on the field.

Programs funded by the New York Jets Foundation touch the lives of countless young men and women in the tri-state area. Over the past nine years, the Jets and their charitable foundation have raised or contributed more than $9 million to promote youth health, fitness and education, particularly in disadvantaged communities. From fighting childhood obesity through the Generation Jets: Be Lean & Green initiative to launching a football team in a urban high school, urging students to eat right and move more, and supporting the efforts of the Alliance for Lupus Research, the New York Jets invest in programs that make a difference in the lives of others. In addition to the Jets Foundation, which supports their own extensive youth initiatives, the Jets partner with numerous established charitable organizations and participate in causes sponsored by the NFL.

The Department of Agriculture’s school nutrition policy is the most comprehensive in the nation and covers pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students. The policy limits fat and sugar content in foods offered in a la carte lines, snack bars and vending machines, school stores and as part of on-campus fund-raisers.

More than 1,740 schools in New Jersey currently offer the School Breakfast Program. New Jersey is one of three states in the nation with state support for all breakfast meals served, not just for students that receive free or reduced priced meals.

To help promote the School Breakfast Program, the Department of Agriculture developed a website, “Food For Thought – New Jersey School Breakfast Program,” at The site has information and resources for parents, teachers, and children to help them work together to ensure students eat a healthy breakfast each morning.

For more information about the Department of Agriculture’s school nutrition programs, visit