East End Schools Honored for Wellness Work

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(Left to right) Wellness Foundation founder Doug Mercer, East Hampton Middle School health teacher Lea Bryant, East Hampton Middle School nurse Barbara Tracey and Wellness Foundation president and CEO Michele Sacconaghi. Courtesy photo

The Wellness Foundation presented its inaugural School Wellness Leadership Awards to one teacher and one school on the East End for their leadership in School Wellness on May 11 at The Muses in Southampton. The Wellness Awards are intended to recognize and reward the good work happening in our East End schools and inspire other schools to take action.

The 2017 Excellence in School Wellness Award was given to East Hampton Middle School for its long-term dedication to school wellness. Health teacher Lea Bryant and school nurse Barbara Tracey have led East Hampton’s Bonac-on-Board to Wellness program for 13 years. The program hosts different wellness events such as a community 5K, dance classes culminating in a final event, “Mad Heart Ball” and a “Chef Wars” competition. They offer school-wide nutrition education and have been advocates for healthy items in the cafeteria as well as creating a “student awareness program” to eliminate bullying and help students manage stress. The runner up for the School award was Remsenberg-Speonk Elementary School for their efforts to reduce junk food in school and cook school lunches from scratch, as well as institute a school Walking Club.

The 2017 School Wellness Champion Award was given to physical education teacher Lisa Serrell of Southampton Elementary School. Some of the initiatives that Ms. Serrell has implemented include having students run a lap at the start of every recess, distributing pedometers for students to track their steps, and creating an annual field day event. Ms. Serrell also instructs other teachers in ways to get kids moving, including how to use Brain Breaks effectively in the classroom. She is an active member of the district wellness committee, and recently advocated successfully to the superintendent to secure PE as a daily class for all elementary school students.

The runner up for the School Wellness Champion award was Christina Cassel, the Home and Careers teacher at Southampton Intermediate School, for the inspiring wellness topics that she brings to her class and her strong commitment to the school garden.

For further information about the East End School Wellness Conference and for the School Wellness Leadership awards, visit www.wfeh.org.

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