MARS HILL, Maine — Students at Central Aroostook High School in Mars Hill now have even more motivation to stay active and eat healthy thanks to a recent grant the school received to purchase new smoothie blenders and pedometers.
This year CAHS applied for and received a $2,062 grant from Fuel Up to Play 60, an in-school nutrition and physical activity program of the National Dairy Council and National Football League in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Half the funds went toward the purchase of two Vitamix smoothie blenders for the school cafeteria while the other half was used to buy pedometers, which measure each step a person takes, for all students.
“The smoothies give students another breakfast option and we hope that the pedometers will encourage them to stay active during the winter months,” said Samantha Drost, social studies teacher and Fuel Up to Play 60 ambassador for CAHS.
Although the cafeteria received the blenders this past fall and began serving breakfast smoothies soon afterward, the pedometers were handed out to students on Friday, Nov. 16. During a morning kickoff celebration for the school’s new walking challenge, students also got to taste samples of two smoothie flavors: apple pie with yogurt and berry without yogurt.
“They’re actually really good,” said student Taia Tilley, 16, as she tried a berry flavored smoothie. “I think it’s good that we have another option for school breakfasts.”
As part of the walking challenge, students will use their new pedometers to keep track of how many steps they walk each week and give their totals to their homeroom teacher every Thursday. From December through February students will become eligible for prizes such as stickers, T-shirts, Fuel Up to Play 60 backpacks and CAHS panthers-themed sweatshirts for every 100,000 steps they reach. The ultimate goal for students will be to reach 600,000 steps by the end of February.
“I’d like to do 100 steps per day,” said student Mikayla Blanchard, 18.
CAHS also received a $400 Fuel Up to Play 60 grant to purchase flag football equipment, which will arrive at the beginning of December. Drost said that the school will apply for another grant from that program in spring 2019 that would allow them to buy a breakfast cart for the cafeteria.