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May 17, 2017 11:06 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

East End Schools Receive Inaugural Wellness Awards

East Hampton Middle School was presented with the Wellness Foundation’s inaugural Excellence in School Wellness Award. At the awards dinner were, left to right, Doug Mercer, founder of the Wellness Foundation;, East Hampton Middle School health teacher Lea Bryant; school nurse Barbara Tracey ) and Michele Sacconaghi, president and CEO of the Wellness Foundation.
May 17, 2017 11:09 AM

The Wellness Foundation recently presented its inaugural School Wellness Leadership awards at the East End Wellness Conference on May 11 at The Muses in Southampton. The awards are intended to recognize the work of educators dedicated to wellness in their schools and to 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. This innovative program hosts different wellness events such as a community 5K, dance classes culminating in the “Mad Heart Ball” and a “Chef Wars” competition. The program offers school-wide nutrition education and has been a powerful advocate for healthy items in the cafeteria, and has created 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 its efforts to reduce junk food in school and cook school lunches from scratch, as well as instituting a school Walking Club.

The 2017 School Wellness Champion Award was given to Lisa Serrell of Southampton Elementary School. Ms. Serrell brings a deep passion and commitment to her work as a physical education teacher and she promotes a culture of wellness throughout the school. According to the Wellness Foundation, she is not afraid to challenge the status quo and she consistently goes above and beyond to dedicate her time and energy to positive change. 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 a fun, annual field day event. She 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 school district’s wellness committee, and recently advocated successfully to secure daily physical education classes 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.

The Wellness Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides education and programs to help adults and children lead healthy lives, and works with educators to create healthy schools.

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