Middle school teacher Rita Gardner started the Fuel Up to Play 60 program four years ago in Moses Lake School District’s Frontier Middle School. After learning about the program she sought the opinion of a student. “I asked her if she thought it would be something students would be interested in,” Gardner shared. “This student went home, signed up, and the program just really took off.”
Gardner never imagined that after a single school year, student names would be stacking the course registration waiting list for her 8th grade “Fuel Up to Play 60 Leadership” elective course or that Fuel Up to Play 60 would be built into the culture of her Moses Lake community. She did however have a hunch that someday she would be celebrating the accomplishments of her past Fuel Up to Play 60 leadership star student, Jessica Williams. “Jessica is just a go-getter,” Rita explained. “She has the ability to assess strengths and weaknesses, she’s creative and she just has those built in leadership skills.”
Jessica has been integral in dreaming, planning and helping to facilitate numerous health and wellness events in Moses Lake. Jessica has helped organize school-wide kickball tournaments, flag football games, community fun runs, and healthy food taste tests. She also worked with teachers to incorporate health education and physical activity in the classrooms in her middle school.
The Fuel Up to Play 60 program is a student-driven program; students choose what health and wellness projects are important to them and they help make them happen in their schools. “The creativity students share is why this program is so exciting,” explained Washington State Dairy Council Director of Nutrition, Linda Mendoza. “Every district and every school run this program a bit differently, playing off of the excitement of their students and the needs of their individual communities.” By finding niche needs and working hard to run unique programs, Jessica Williams earned herself the ultimate leadership prize: an all-expense paid trip to Super Bowl LII!
Jessica’s high school program advisor, Lindy Williams is excited to expand the program with Jessica’s help to Moses Lake High School. “Many students saw how much fun health and wellness activities were by participating in the program in middle school and there is a ton of opportunity.” Jessica hosted a kick-off high school recruitment for the program this fall and is working with Lindy to plan health and wellness events this spring.
The Fuel Up to Play 60 Program provides the resources schools need to promote health and wellness in school and inspire students by offering local and national prizes. For more information, visit www.fueluptoplay60.com and learn how simple it is to eat healthy and be active with students at www.eatsmart.org.