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School Wins NJDA’s Jets Play 60 “Eat Right, Move More” Program

For Immediate Release: April 30, 2014
Contact: Lynne Richmond 
(609) 633-2954 

(SAYREVILLE) – New Jersey Department of Agriculture Director of the Division of Food and Nutrition Rose Tricario and New York Jets linebacker Nick Bellore today honored Samsel Upper Elementary School in Sayreville as one of the winners of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s Jets Play 60 “Eat Right, Move More” program. 

The Department of Agriculture and Jets presented the school with a $2,000 prize to be used for kitchen updates and physical education equipment, made possible by the Jets, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the American Dairy Association & Dairy Council.  Then, Bellore treated the school’s 925 fourth and fifth-grade students to a fun and educational program.

“Samsel Upper Elementary School officials understand the benefits of eating healthy and physical activity for children,” said Tricario. “We are proud to honor their achievement through this program.”

Photo of Samsel check presentation
The NJDA and Jets present Samsel Upper Elementary School with their prize check

The Play 60 Eat Right, Move More program, a partnership between the Jets, the Department of Agriculture, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the American Dairy Association & Dairy Council, encourages New Jersey school children to take advantage of healthy foods in their school cafeterias and become more active. 

This year, there was an emphasis on selecting schools that offer breakfast in the classroom.  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. 

“A good breakfast is such an important way to start each day so I think it was a great focus for this year’s Eat Right, Move More program,” said Nick Bellore. “Coming to Samsel Upper Elementary today to celebrate this school’s commitment to health and wellness is a real honor for me.”

Roosevelt Elementary School in Rahway was the grand prize winner this school year, receiving a $10,000 grant, a Jets visit, and school representatives were honored at a Jets football game in December.  Samsel Upper Elementary School was one of 10 finalist schools that competed for four more prizes based on their performance in the Jets Play 60 Challenge.  Whiting, Egg Harbor City Community School, Whiting Elementary School in Manchester Township and Roosevelt School #7 in Garfield had at least 100 students who committed to logging 60 minutes of physical activity every day for four weeks.

Samsel Upper school principal Stacey Maher said the students who participated in the Play 60 program were seated in the VIP section during today’s program to honor them for their accomplishments.  As the students participated in the challenge, the school held two Family Fun and Fitness nights, where the children and their families worked out for 60 minutes, learned how to prepare healthy snacks and learned about the school’s nutritional guidelines.

“Although eating right and being more active takes work, it is so beneficial for our students and their families,” said Maher.  “It does not only bring positive changes physically but mentally and emotionally.  I am so proud of the children who completed this challenge and thankful to the teachers and family members who supported them in this endeavor.”

The school has made it a priority to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to its students from local farmers when in season and there are opportunities for physical activity during afterschool and recreation programs.

Maher said they are thinking of using the prize money to buy a free-standing salad bar and equipment for students to use during recess.

As a professional football team that plays in New Jersey, the Jets regularly promote youth health, fitness, and education, particularly in disadvantaged communities.