The No Kid Hungry Maryland Breakfast Challenge, co-sponsored by the American Dairy Association North East, is a friendly competition to increase access to breakfast and ultimately get more kids eating in the morning. Last year, Ridgely Elementary School was the statewide Maryland Meals for Achievement winner!
The event at Ridgely, celebrated the importance of breakfast with special guests including, retired NFL Ravens linebacker Brad Jackson, Patricia Dombroski, United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Services Administrator and local dairy farmer Scott Youse.
Ridgely Elementary School was the last school in the county to offer breakfast in the classroom. About 79% of Ridgely students eat breakfast in the classroom, which is the highest percentage of the county's schools.
"It (breakfast in classroom) is a lot of work, but it is totally worth it," said Ridgely cafeteria manager Shawna Gustafson. "The students count on it every day."
Ridgely principal Roger Banko said the cafeteria staff works as a team to get the breakfast out to the students. "This is what is best for the kids."
Jackson along with Youse visited several first grade classrooms before talking to grades 3-5 students at an assembly behind the school.
"You have to start your day with breakfast," said Jackson, who said while he was on the Ravens football team, the team has nutrition coaches to make sure the players ate well. He said the school's cafeteria staff take a lot of time to make sure they are giving the students the most nutritious meals.
Scott Youse, who owns and operates Oakland View Farms, said he milks 600 cows three times a day. He told the students he takes his job very seriously, because it provides nutritious milk. "It provides you lots of energy and helps you learn."
Superintendent of Schools John Ewald thanked the students for participating in the breakfast program and for making breakfast a priority.