Drury students film the Greylock pupils in the cafeteria for material they will use in a music video to promote healthy eating.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A healthy diet includes fruits, vegetables, proteins and grains.
A presentation about healthy eating can include a PowerPoint presentation, crafts, music and flossing. Not the kind of flossing you do to protect your teeth — though that is important too.
It was the dance-craze variety of flossing that a group of Drury High School students used Wednesday morning to get third-graders at Greylock Elementary School excited about nutritious snacks.
The students, from Drury's E3 Academy, were at Greylock to celebrate Massachusetts Food Day.
The E3 Academy seniors talked about how they are helping local producers of fresh vegetables, showed the kids how to make good food choices and recruited the youngsters' help for a music video to promote healthy eating.
Jason Bunt, Lashay Darkins, Raechel Morin, Shaylie Cote-Benoit, Dakota Freeman, Josh Serrano, Matt Bess, Rayvin West, Tiara Myers and Tyler Caron kept the third-graders entertained, involved and, yes, fed for more than an hour.
The Drury students have been researching issues surrounding nutrition and thinking about how they can help the local community at a couple of different levels.
On Wednesday, they talked about how they are developing a vegetable washer that will help solve problems for a local farmer.
A couple of the E3 students explained how cleaning root vegetables can be a laborious and messy job on the farm and showed images of a vegetable cleaner they saw in operation at Williamstown's Caretaker Farm.
They then showed the youngsters a prototype of the vegetable washer that the Drury students plan to construct and donate to another area farm.
"It's something that's easy to build," Bess explained. "It usually doesn't take more than some wood, a hose and some PVC. It's stuff we can put together in our backyard."
After a lesson in how fresh vegetables get to be table ready, it was time for a discussion about how the elementary-school pupils can make informed choices about what they put on their tables.
The E3 students explained how nutrition labels provide information about the contents of packaged foods and gave the kids a puzzle, asking them to identify the common snack items (Doritos, Goldfish, etc.) based on their nutrition label.
The E3 students designed the lesson themselves after deciding that they wanted to take their message directly to the city's children, according to Drury adjustment counselor and E3 Academy adviser Abby Reifsnyder.
"They decided, 'What we need to do is teach kids when they're younger. No one taught us, and that's why we eat all this junk,' " Reifsnyder said.
To get ready for Wednesday's presentation, the E3 students rehearsed their presentation and went grocery shopping for food for a hands-on activity. They showed the third-graders how fun nutritious food can be by letting them turn bananas and chocolate chips into "ghosts," clementines, a felt-tipped pen and celery sticks into "pumpkins" and grapes and wooden skewers into "caterpillars" — incorporating seasonal themes into the edible crafts.
Along the way, the Drury students learned a lesson of their own about budgeting. Reifsnyder explained that they originally wanted to do "ants on a log," but after realizing that they couldn't use peanut butter because of allergy issues and that alternative spreads were too expensive, the E3 students looked for alternatives.
The students did not want Wednesday's lesson to be a one-time event but rather something that can continue to promote healthy eating for a long time to come, and that is where the flossing comes in.
The last phase of the presentation was its most active, as the Drury students encouraged their young counterparts to get moving for a "lip dub" music video. The E3 students will take the footage they filmed on Wednesday morning, edit it, sync it with the song they wrote for the occasion, "Food Like You," and give Greylock Elementary a copy to be used in the school's classrooms.
The E3 Academy is a competency-based program of Drury High School for students who are
under-credited and at risk of dropping out that has served students since 2012. The three E's are Effort, Essential Skills and Employability.
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