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Tyson-sponsored Trail Provides Fun & Fitness for Arthur Williams Middle School

Arthur Williams Middle School in Jesup, Georgia earned the Alliance’s National Healthy Schools Bronze Award in 2013 through their commitment to building a healthy school environment for students and staff. But they weren’t done yet: they began working towards Silver the very next year! 

While applying for the National Healthy Schools Silver Award, Rhonda Stuckey, wellness champion and school nurse, learned about an opportunity to apply for a Tyson Foods (an Alliance industry partner) K-12 Making a Difference grant on the Alliance’s website. She worked closely with Healthy Schools Program Manager Mike Stubbs to complete the Tyson application to address the school’s need for more physical activity options. “We see obesity among students in our school. I think a lot of it comes from inactivity, but they do love to go outside!” Stuckey explained.

Arthur Williams was awarded the Tyson Foods grant – only the second school ever to receive it – and used the funds to build a fitness trail on unused land around the school. Students and teachers now walk and run on the trail after finishing their lunch, and community groups, including the Boys & Girls Club, bring children to use the trail on weekends. Teachers are already seeing results. They tell Stuckey, “When the kids have already jumped around, they’re ready to listen when they sit down [in class].”

Having the support of the Alliance beyond having access to the Tyson Foods grant has been paramount to the school’s success. “Our school works with Mike Stubbs closely, and he connected us to other Alliance staff to answer our questions as we worked through the Healthy Schools Program Framework to achieve national recognition,” said Stuckey.

The school’s wellness council, which includes parents, students, the school counselor, and cafeteria staff, isn’t slowing down anytime soon. “We almost had Silver last year, but I was focused on getting the fitness trail up and running,” said Stuckey. “Getting Silver is going to be my main focus this school year!”