Area schools get healthy by participating in the “Great Big Crunch”



Great Big Crunch1By Ron Giofu


The annual “Great Big Crunch” was held last Thursday with teachers and students getting healthy one apple at a time.

This event, made possible by funding from Jumpstart and the Ontario Student Nutrition Program (OSNP), is to celebrate the apple harvest, local produce and healthy eating.

École St.-Jean-Baptiste was chosen to be the feature school in this city and county-wide celebration.

“All of the schools in the area were invited to participate in the Great Big Crunch,” explained teacher Jacqueline Leardi.

Various activities during the day included a school-wide “crunch,” arts and crafts, games, songs and even classroom gardening.

“We’re trying to promote local produce as well,” said Leardi, who had her class trace a large map of Essex County and outline where the orchards are.

École St-Jean Baptiste is a school that promotes healthy eating, she noted.

“We serve healthy snacks three times a week to the students,” said Leardi. “That’s completely managed by volunteers. We have parents and grandparents come in to wash and cut up produce and serve them to the classrooms.”

Sobeys provides the produce to École St.-Jean Baptiste at cost, she added.

“They have been a huge supporter of this program,” said Leardi.

Leardi added that students perform better in school when they eat healthier and that this region of Canada has the lowest rate of consumption of fruits and vegetables.

“It’s really part of our culture here at this school,” she said of healthy eating. “We want to produce more opportunities to eat healthy food.”

Students Alexis Bernardes, Lola Good, Yesenia Miron-Acosta and Kaiya Pritchard agreed healthy eating is a staple at École St.-Jean Baptiste and they also enjoyed the fact their school was the featured school for the “Great Big Crunch” promotion.

“It’s really cool we get to celebrate this activity because I really like apples,” said Bernardes.

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