Clovis school turns mileage into money from grant

CNJ Staff Photo Illustration: Gabriel Monte Barry Elementary School received a $5,000 grant for its efforts to educate students on a healthy lifestyle.

By Gabriel Monte: Freedom Newspapers

A Clovis elementary school recently was recognized for its effort to educate students about living a healthy lifestyle.

Barry Elementary School was awarded a $5,000 grant in June for participating in a breakfast program and promoting exercise.

Last year, 300 Barry students and 25 parents walked a combined 6,300 miles — the equivalent of walking across the country twice — on a dirt path around the school’s playground, according to Barry Elementary Principal Carrie Bunce.

“They were going to start at Barry and walk (the distance to) somewhere in New York,” she said. “And they reached that goal early … so we told the kids they had to walk back across the United States.”

This year, three more schools will offer free breakfasts for students through a program called Breakfast in the Classroom, Clovis Schools Superintendent Rhonda Seidenwurm said. She said four schools, including Barry Elementary, started the breakfast program last year.
Through the state program, schools that have 60 percent of students receiving free or reduced-price lunches can offer free breakfasts to all students, she said.

“If the school ensures that every single child gets a breakfast, we basically can feed everybody free,” Seidenwurm said.

But more than teaching children what to eat, school officials are also concerned with teaching them an active lifestyle.

“The program that we’ve adopted for elementary kids is called the ‘CATCH’ program,” Seidenwurm said. “It is a physical education program that also includes a strong health component of letting kids know about good nutrition as well as physical exercise.”

In addition to the $5,000 DairyMAX grant, Barry Elementary received about a $9,000 grant from the Hubbard Foundation.

Bunce said she will use the money to pay for a paved quarter-mile track students can use for the mileage club.

The track will cost about $24,000, Bunce said. She hopes it will be available in the spring.