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Spout Springs recognized for healthy initiatives
Elementary school commended for fitness achievement award
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Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, right, presents Spout Springs School of Enrichment principal Steve McDaniel with a proclamation Tuesday recognizing the school’s silver award from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Spout Springs was the only Georgia school to receive the silver award this year. - photo by NAT GURLEY

One Hall County school is celebrating not with cake and ice cream, but with healthy snacks and a dose of exercise.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle joined the faculty and staff of Spout Springs School of Enrichment on Tuesday in marking its achieving the silver award by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation earlier this month.

The elementary school was the only one in Georgia to receive the silver award this year. There are more than 18,000 schools that participate in the alliance, with only 267 recognized nationally for 2013.

“I could not describe it any other way than a culture change,” said Tom Adam, physical education teacher at the school. “We’ve been going through a lot in the last two, three years changing every facet of our school. It’s been a really great experience. It’s made the school a better place. We teach more health, we play outside more.”

One change is implementing what Adam calls “brain breaks,” where teachers take a few minutes to let their students move around, whether it’s just in the classroom or if they step outside for a breath of fresh air.

Cagle, whose children previously attended Spout Springs, presented a proclamation commending the school for the achievement.

“I tell people often, life is not about self,” he said. “Life is about service, and service to others. And when we commit ourselves to that act of service, that’s where we truly find greatness.”

The National Recognition Award through the Alliance for a Healthier Generation is given to schools with nutrition services and physical activity that meet or exceed standards set by the alliance’s Healthy Schools Program. Standards are guided by health education, physical activity and nutrition, among other frameworks.

The alliance was founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation.

Lee Ann Else, Healthy Schools program manager in Georgia, gave the school its certificate for achieving silver status.

“You have earned this,” she said, adding that when she’s visited the school in the past, the children were “happy, thriving, moving more, doing brain breaks.

“You have had the heart and the courage to make the kind of changes that are cultural, systemic and will make a better future for all of the children in Spout Springs,” she added.

Other Hall schools recognized by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation with bronze status this year are Chestatee Academy of Inquiry and Talent Development, East Hall Middle School, Flowery Branch Elementary School, North Hall Middle School, Sardis Enrichment School, South Hall Middle School and Sugar Hill Elementary School.