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updated: 6/4/2011 9:34 AM

Local schools win 'Play 60' visit to Halas Hall

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  • The students who represented Ridge Family Center stop for a photo inside the Bears training facility.

    The students who represented Ridge Family Center stop for a photo inside the Bears training facility.
    Courtesy District 59

Submitted by Elk Grove Township Elementary District 59

Morning jump-start workouts, healthy snack breaks, and hip-hop yoga classes after school are just a few of the many ways that health-minded students are making a difference in Chicagoland schools through Fuel Up to Play 60, a free, in-school wellness program sponsored by Midwest Dairy Council, National Dairy Council and the Chicago Bears, that encourages kids to eat healthy and stay active.

On May 25, 100 students, chosen to represent 10 of the highest performing schools in northern Illinois were rewarded at a Fuel Up to Play 60 celebration at the Walter Payton Center, the Bears indoor training facility at Halas Hall in Lake Forest.

The winning schools were Abbott, Ellis and Kenyon middle schools in Elgin; Ridge Family Center for Learning in Elk Grove Village and schools in Bolingbrook, Chicago, Romeoville and Waukegan.

Highlights included appearances by Dan Jiggetts, James "Big Cat" Williams, and a "pep talk" with a Bears coach. The students also participated in an interactive workout that utilized HOPSports®, a multimedia instructional program that educates, trains and entertains, while promoting accelerated learning, character education, health, nutrition and social messaging.

Among the guests were Fuel Up to Play 60 school program advisers, teachers and administration, as well as Illinois dairy farmers, health and wellness partners like the USDA and representatives from Midwest Dairy Council and the Bears.

"We congratulate these students for taking control of their health and making their school environments healthier by eating right, getting daily physical activity and encouraging their friends to do the same," said Lorna Riggs, a health and wellness program manager with Midwest Dairy Council. "Their work supports the goal of Fuel Up to Play 60 to empower students to get involved and take the lead for themselves and their peers."

Fuel Up to Play 60 is part of wellness efforts in 5,100 schools in Illinois.

"The Bears are a proud partner of Fuel Up to Play 60," said Director of Community Relations Caroline Schrenker. "The Bears organization and our players know that eating healthy and being active every day is the key to staying fit, which is why we're excited to serve as role models to help inspire our young fans to make healthier choices."

Fuel Up to Play 60 is a school wellness program provided at no cost to more than 70,000 schools nationwide, to help tackle childhood obesity.