Students at Roncalli Middle School in Pueblo are fueling up to play for 60 minutes, and the Denver Broncos are helping make it happen. It's all part of a nationwide program put together by the National Football League, the National Dairy Council, and the United States Department of Agriculture.
Thursday, Broncos' mascot Miles brought a message of healthy eating to the students during a high energy pep assembly at the middle school.
At Roncalli, a group of student leaders have been trying to get their friends and classmates to eat healthier and participate in physical activities. The kids are rewarded for doing so, with points they can spend on items online through the Fuel Up To Play 60 website.
Kaylene Khosla, a seventh-grader and student body treasurer, says the program was needed at the school. "At Roncalli Middle School, the kids have been not eating as healthy as we hoped," says Khosla.
Faculty Advisor for the program Kelly Anaya, wants to get kids to make the right choice when it comes to their health. "Making choices is a big skill they need to learn, and to choose healthier foods and to choose healthier activities in their daily lives, on their own, is really the goal," says Anaya.
Being active is something first year physical education teacher Tiffany Walters says all kids need. "It's so easy now to get your hands on video games and junk food that, I mean we need something like this. Every school needs something like this," says Walters.
Ultimately the goal is to get kids started on a healthier lifestyle early in life. "If these kids get involved in sports and activities now, there's a better chance they'll be involved in those through high school. they'll go to college and be physically active. They'll do it for the rest of their life," says Walters.
Unfortunately not all schools can afford it. Roncalli is getting a $5,000 grant to fund this years program. They are one of 60,000 schools nationwide to participate.
As a side benefit to participating in the program, the student team at Roncalli will have a say in future school lunch menus at Pueblo City Schools. "We work with student groups from around the district. They help us to sample new items, to test recipes for us, give us that student input on our menus," says Jill Kidd, Nutrition Services Director for District 60.
Still, there is some resistance from older students at the middle school. Teachers admit they knew going into the program some kids would be skeptical at first. But the teachers are confident that, when the older students see the younger kids enjoying the rewards offered through the program, they'll come around. "It becomes cool to do this kind of stuff, instead of, 'oh I don't want to do it, it's the uncool thing'," says Walters.