BREAKFAST CHAMPIONS


I finished making my first short video this week.

So yeah, I’m basically Spielberg now, and it’s ok if you name drop a little that you knew me way back when.

The stars of my video are the dedicated staff at the school in Wibaux, MT, who saw a problem and didn’t rest until they’d fixed it. See, students in Wibaux were hungry. The cafeteria was in the elementary school down the street and there never seemed to be enough time in the morning for middle or high school students to walk down there, grab a breakfast, and be back in time for class---especially in winter! This left kids slogging through morning after morning of class time with low energy levels and feeling, well, hangry! Can you blame them---would you like to face exponents, roots, and logarithms in weakened state? Teachers described classroom behaviors ranging from anxious fidgeting to excessive sleepiness, all because students were starting their day with their fuel tanks on empty.

Even candy bar companies have figured out “you’re not you when you’re hungry”, so imagine trying to interest a room full of ravenous teenagers in Shakespeare or the periodic table! Something had to be done, and the breakfast champions of Wibaux stepped up to do it. Working together, a group of teachers, administrators, office staff, and school food service developed a plan to start a grab-and-go breakfast program in the middle and high schools. Students would be able to pick up all the components for a federally-reimbursable meal with just a quick stop at the business office where the grab-and-go station was set up. The meal could then be quietly eaten in classrooms during any of the first three periods. This scheduling flexibility meant that even students beginning the day with a breakfast-incompatible class such as computer lab or band would still have the chance to eat.

Thanks to a grant from Montana No Kid Hungry, the school was able to purchase needed start-up equipment and the program was begun to great success. I visited Wibaux towards the end of the school year for my video project and was so impressed by how well everything flowed and by the rave reviews that staff and students gave the grab-and-go program. Kids that weren’t getting breakfast before are now eating a nutritionally-balanced meal every morning, and that’s a good thing in anyone’s book!

As for my video project, well, I might not actually be any real competition to Spielberg. And I doubt I’ll be getting any invitations to the Oscars this year (I’ve heard they’re not going to be that good, anyway). But it was a fun experience that showed me two things: videography is an amazingly enjoyable extension of my life-long love of photography……and giving kids a good breakfast can make all the difference in the world.

Ok, I learned three things. I now know how to spell “sophomore”. Because when you send your video out for review and it goes out to the whole school and you hear back that you spelled a word wrong, you remember how to spell the word afterward.

Tina Kahrs
Montana No Kid Hungry-PRC AmeriCorps VISTA
Plentywood, MT