But that became the norm as the Office of Minority Health kicked off Minority Health Month Monday in Chicago, involving enough childlike enthusiasm to overlook dreary weather and refocus attention on elementary school students' desire to be active, stay healthy and learn more about nutrition.
Through the Heroes for Healthy Schools Week, OMH and Healthy Schools Campaign are highlighting the impact of school nutrition and physical activity on students' health and wellbeing.
Monday's high-profile guests had a little competition from fifth grade speakers Destiny Rodriguez and Isis Cartagena, both 10, who spoke about the impact of healthy school programs on their health.
From programs like Breakfast in the Classroom to OrganWise, both girls touted the merits of physical activity and nutrition and health programs at McAuliffe Elementary School.
"Lunch is the fun part of school," Cartagena said, "it's not because it's 'hangout time.' The fun part is that I get to go to the salad bar...where you make your own meals of fruits and vegetables."
Cornell McClellan, Chicago native, personal trainer to the Obama family and member of the President's Council on Fitness, Sport and Nutrition, reminded press conference attendees of the goal of participating in the President's Active Lifestyle Award Challenge, which promotes moving daily for improved health, and expressed his own enthusiasm about what is taking place in Chicago.
"I know fitness is important to establishing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle," McClellan said, before heading to the school gym to work out with PE Teacher Joe Sisto and McAuliffe students. "I'm excited to be here and am just looking forward to Chicago leading the way."
Once in the gym, yelling reverberated off blue mat-covered walls as students clad in dark blue and white clothing lunged, stretched and jumped--all while smiling-- during their session with the President's personal trainer. Thirty minutes later, they were still asking for more.
"All of these efforts should remind us we have heroes in our schools every day," said Rochelle Davis, CEO of the Healthy Schools Campaign, "making the lives of students and their health better for a brighter tomorrow."
The Day's Highlights:
- Chicago Public Schools will include a health and wellness category in the schools' individual school improvement plan.
- Twenty-six schools have committed to Go for the Gold. The goal is to see 100 schools commit to the Challenge.
- McClellan commits to introducing President's Fitness Challenge to PE teachers to jumpstart the One Million PALA Challenge.
Keep Up with the Week
Launching Heroes for Healthy Schools Week with an Active Start.