French Settlement High School and North Corbin Junior High received the state's highest awards in the "No Kid Hungry" Breakfast Challenge, which is sponsored by the Louisiana Department of Education and Gov. John Bel Edwards.
The announcement took place March 7 at North Corbin Junior High School with Louisiana first lady Donna Edwards visiting. Organizers announced 306 schools participated in the challenge, collectively increasing breakfast meal participation to nearly 150,000 students.
North Corbin Junior High received the largest increase in breakfast participation among participating schools in the K-8 category.
French Settlement High received the largest increase in breakfast participation among participating schools with grades 9-12 and received a visit from Saints running back Trey Edmunds on Friday morning in the school's new gym. He spoke to the students about the importance of healthy eating and physical activity and answered questions from students.
North Corbin Junior High will host its Saints pep rally in late April or early May, and the Saints mascot Gumbo will attend.
The program is aimed at increasing the daily participation in school breakfast service and overall milk consumption. Research shows that students who eat a healthy school breakfast do better in math, they have higher attendance rates and they are more likely to graduate.
Assistant Supervisor of Child Nutrition Programs Sommer Purvis said participation in school breakfast is up 46 percent this year across Livingston Parish. The increase is a result of making the meal more appealing, by feeding students in their classrooms with a bagged breakfast and offering them a midmorning break. Weekly menus include both hot and cold entrees, including sausage biscuits, French toast sticks, fresh fruit, yogurt, cereal bars and breakfast pizza.
She said the school system has been able to offer the food for free through the Community Eligibility Program. The school system qualified for the program after the August 2016 flood due to the large number of families impacted by the devastating flooding.
Purvis said the school system also received a $140,000 grant from Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom. Those funds were used to assist with the implementation of the breakfast program at three schools.