Byron Jones, Dallas Cowboys free safety, created a stir as he joined Vestal Elementary students at breakfast this morning.
Jones joined students in the Harlandale Independent School District as part of Dairy MAX’s Fuel Greatness program, a grassroots initiative partnering with the NFL’s Play 60 program to educate children about the importance of health and wellness.
While Dairy MAX focuses on nutrition and eating well, the NFL’s Play 60 focuses on educating youth to get 60 minutes of physical activity a day.
“We just know a hungry child cannot learn,” said Lana Frantzen, vice president of Health and Wellness for Dairy MAX. Frantzen explained that the program reminds kids that breakfast is an important start to their day. With the collaboration of Play 60, kids also learn the importance to adding physical activity into their day.
Jones took turns sitting with 4th and 5th grade students to discuss their favorite subjects and what they do to stay healthy and fit.
After breakfast, students and faculty gathered in the gym for the Breakfast Games, a high-energy friendly obstacle competition. To motivate them, Jones rallied children and encouraged them to eat healthy so they could perform at their best.
“I want to be able to help kids with their nutrition,” Jones said. He recommends eating fruits and vegetables, proteins and dairy products at a young age. “If you teach them at a young age, they carry it into adulthood. ”
One student asked Jones, “What is your favorite breakfast food?”
Jones quickly answered, “I like eggs with cheese sprinkled on top!”
Students also heard from Dairy Farmer Wade Bingham from B-Pride Dairy in Grandview, Texas, who discussed how he and his family work to bring healthy dairy products to their table.
As the Breakfast Games began teachers cheered on students divided into three teams to compete for gold, silver and bronze medals.
Jones, along with WNBA retired shooting guard, Marie Ferdinand-Harris helped students with the games. Harris played for the San Antonio Silver Stars from 2003-2007.
To show support for the program was Julie La Barba, medical director for Culinary Health Education for Families (CHEF) at Children’s Hospital of San Antonio.
“As champions of health for children, we support what Dairy Max does to bring kids’ attention to health.” Barba said. “The kids have a lot of fun and learning through fun is the best way to do it.”
Barba runs the teaching kitchen at the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, a free program for families to learn how to get healthy food on the table.
Harlandale ISD currently gives all students Breakfast in the Classroom to help students maintain a healthy lifestyle but also stay focused on their academics.
“Pursue your dream, whatever it may be. Find what you are good at,” Jones said. “Kids see a football player and they all want to play football. They can be great mathematicians, great scientists, and great teachers. Whatever you have a passion in, pursue that.”