Gilmer McLaurin Elementary is Mississippi's Healthiest School for 2020
Grant Awarded: $50,000
Gilmer McLaurin Elementary School in Natchez is dedicated to teaching school personnel, students and their families to value their own health. School leaders and school health council members work together to create a sustainable environment of health and well-being that reaches beyond the classroom.
To encourage physical fitness among students, Gilmer McLaurin Elementary School adopted the Presidential Youth Fitness Program, a national model for fitness education and assessment in schools. For faculty and staff, the school offers weekly health challenges with incentives for achieving goals. The school also provides students and their families opportunities to participate in health fairs and other fun physical activity events.
Nutrition education is reinforced with hands-on learning through caring for the school’s garden. Students water, weed and learn how to prepare healthy snacks using fresh produce from the garden.
With the $50,000 grant award, Gilmer McLaurin Elementary School plans to enhance physical education classes with new indoor and outdoor fitness equipment and increase the number of raised beds in the school garden.
2020 Healthy School - St. Martin High School
Grant Awarded: $25,000
School administrators and school health council members at St. Martin High School collaborate to ensure faculty, staff, students and their families have opportunities to participate in healthy eating and exercise activities. The school is aligned with one of the Ocean Springs School District’s overarching goals to create and sustain a healthy school environment.
With an edible school garden as its centerpiece, St. Martin High School incorporates healthy nutrition lessons and activities into classroom education. Students learn how to grow and harvest fruits and vegetables while discovering ways to incorporate fresh produce into their daily meal plan. Students are also encouraged to keep food diaries and monitor their intake of healthy nutritious foods. A school mentorship program designed to demonstrate the benefits of healthy eating, exercise and live nicotine-free is also available to students.
Many St. Martin High School employees participate in monthly health challenges with recognition and rewards provided by the school district. Faculty, staff, students and their families have opportunities to join community walking clubs that meet in the afternoons on the school’s walking trail.
St. Martin High School plans to use the $25,000 grant award to install water bottle filling stations and touchless hand sanitizer stations in the hallways. The school also plans to add a greenhouse to the school garden.
2020 Healthy School - DeLisle Elementary School
Grant Awarded: $25,000
Aligned with one of the overall strategic goals established by the Pass Christian School District, DeLisle Elementary School leaders and health council members work together to maintain a healthy school environment. The school’s curricula incorporates 60 minutes of physical activity per day, and students are encouraged to set fitness goals and keep activity journals.
For faculty and staff, the school offers recreation activities, healthy cooking lessons other healthy eating initiatives. Many of the school’s employees participate in DeLisle Elementary School’s annual one-mile community fun run and 5K.
DeLisle Elementary School entered into a shared use agreement with the City of Pass Christian to allow the school property to be accessible for recreation by the public during non-school hours. The shared use agreement broadens opportunities for campus physical activities essential for personal and community health.
Plans for the $25,000 grant award include purchasing indoor and outdoor physical fitness equipment and upgrading the school’s playground.
2020 Healthy School - Moselle Elementary School
Grant Awarded: $25,000
As part of the Jones County School District, Moselle Elementary School is a role model of health and wellness for schools across Mississippi. School district leaders and school health council members are building a sustainable culture of well-being by promoting healthy nutrition and physical fitness.
Students at Moselle Elementary School engage in fun fitness activities such as “Sits-ups in September” and one-mile fun-runs, including the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Get Ready to Run School Program and One-Mile Fun Run. Students also participate in bicycle safety programs and ride bicycles as part of the school’s physical education program.
“Moselle Miles” increases physical activity among school personnel. Faculty and staff members log miles walked each day, and the employee with the most miles logged each month receives recognition from the school district.
With the $25,000 grant award, Moselle Elementary Schools plans to expand the student bicycle program and create an edible school garden.
About the Judges
The Healthy School Awards applications are evaluated by a panel of known health and wellness champions from across Mississippi. Judges for the 2020 Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation Healthy School Awards Program were:
- Ira E. Murray, Ph.D., President and CEO, United Way of the Capital Area
- Aleshia Hall-Campbell, Ph.D., Executive Director, Institute of Child Nutrition
Note: All 2020 Healthy School Award winner photos were taken prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.