Leis accompanied lunch on Wednesday for the students of River Ridge Elementary School.
Susan Swift, the nutrition manager at River Ridge Elementary, puts a lei over Bishop Dancy's head as classmate Kyle Blomberg watches. The school cafeteria adopted a luau theme for the pupils as part of School Lunch Week.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
To celebrate National School Lunch Week, and the Columbia County theme of "School Lunch is Instrumental," the school held a Disney movie-inspired luau.
"We were looking for an idea that was kind of fun to go with the theme this week," said Cathy Shackelford, a nutrition assistant at River Ridge Elementary. "We had played music on Friday during a pizza day and the kids really enjoyed it. We got to thinking about the 'Lilo and Stitch' music and decided to do a luau.''
Pupils were given leis in the lunch line and ate to the movie's soundtrack, featuring many Elvis Presley tunes.
"It's been a pretty interesting theme for the schools to use, because they can use any kind of music that they want to," said Jane Wiggins, the director of school nutrition services for the Columbia County school system.
"We're saying school lunch is something to sing about," she said.
The Congress established the second week of October as National School Lunch Week in 1962. Wiggins welcomes the week each year to showcase the value of school lunches.
"A lot of people still have the misconception that school lunch is high fat and high calories when, actually, it's the only healthy meal children often eat away from home," she said.
"We keep trying to get the message out, that we are part of the solution for childhood obesity. Not part of the problem."
Public schools in Columbia County serve about 14,000 lunches each day and about 2,000 breakfasts. Many of the lunches served this week will be served by school officials and public figures in the county.
Also, many schools are inviting parents to eat with their children at school this week, but that invitation extends to any day school is in session, Wiggins said.
"That's a big deal for students to sit down with mom and dad to have school lunch," she said. "It's really good for us, so the parents see what we are serving students and that the meals taste good and are healthy."
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