Students get a taste of academic fun

First Posted: 5/21/2009

The students at White Plains Elementary School got a taste of something a little different in more ways than one Thursday.
During the schools annual field day the students participated in a day of fun activities outside and learned about various fruits from other parts of the world.
The school learned last week it was the recipient of a grant for the second year in a row from the USDA that provides fresh fruits and vegetables to the school each day.
The grant has allowed students to receive a snack of a fruit or vegetable every school day. During the school year, the school staff incorporated the grant into different events, including a day dedicated to coconuts, a fit and fun festival in the fall and an executive chef who visited the school to show students how to cook tasty veggies.
Thursday, the school capped off the year before End of Grade Testing with a field day that included a showcasing of different exotic fruits mostly from South America.
Whats this? probed one student, who pointed at what appeared to be a melon with horns on top of a pile of colorful fruits on a long table in front of the school.
Its a kiwano melon, said Cindy Poe, who works with Foster-Caviness Food Service.
She, along with Todd Baxter of the Department of Defense, introduced the students to Uniq, pepino melons, Asian pears, langsat and other exotic fruits.
The grant allows the students to get a taste of something different, he said.
The children also were able to take home a goody bag complete with a star fruit, a kumquat, coloring books and other treats.
Sherry Parks is the mother of third-grader Robert Parks, and said ever since the school received the grant her son has been able to implement various fruits into his diet and he enjoys eating healthier.
Hes more willing to try more things, hes been eating a lot better, she said yesterday. This has been really good for him.
Sandra Scott, the principal of White Plains Elementary, said thats the whole idea.
Surry County has talked a lot about authentic learning, and thats what this program does for us, she said, noting that the program teaches students not only how to eat healthier, but also about different cultures because of the produce they are exposed to.
The students and faculty are exposed to fresh fruit every day for free, she said. Its great because theyre exposed to something they normally would not get…they get fresh servings of fruit every day and more kids like it, so we have big plans for next year.
One of the big plans she mentioned is having students plant classroom gardens.
Im thrilled about this, its just been a blessing. Its amazing, she said.
Contact Erin C. Perkins at [email protected] or 719-1952.

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