The faces showed mixed reactions but the excitement was evident as North Side students sampled mangoes before they let out for spring break. Some students admitted to never having tried a mango before. That fact fulfills the purpose of the project at North Side Elementary, which will allow students to try different fresh fruits and vegetables.
The opportunity is part of a Healthy Schools Grant that was funded by the Johnson City Schools Coordinated School Health team. One of the goals of North Side’s grant is to give students a chance to try fresh fruits and vegetables that they have not had a chance to try before.
“The ultimate goal is for them to eat healthier, but also we want them to not be afraid to try new things when they see something that is presented as a healthy option,” North Side Physical Education teacher Cody Patterson said.
Throughout the rest of the school year, students will be given the chance to sample a healthy fruit or vegetable once per month. Other fruits that the students have requested to try include blueberries, dragon fruit, grapes and kiwi.
The grant was written by Patterson and other members of North Side’s Healthy School Team. Each school has a team created from multiple departments across the school to make schools healthier places for children and staff.
“By identifying primary health concerns around the school and then designing and leading projects that promote healthy habits and celebrate successful health initiatives, our schools promote a healthier environment for our students and staff,” Johnson City Schools Coordinated School Health Coordinator Jennifer Norton said.
North Side also received the grant to start a cycling club, which will provide students the opportunity to participate in an after-school program that teaches them how to ride a bicycle and basic safety skills for biking. In all, five schools were provided Healthy Schools from Johnson City Schools Coordinated School Health.
“We are excited to provide our students with the opportunity to try fruits that they may have never tried,” Patterson said. “The kids are excited. It’s a good feeling inside knowing that they are doing something that will help them have a healthier lifestyle.”