On Monday, July 16th, two members of the Thompson Public Schools family began their journey to the chance of a lifetime. During the school year, Deidrea Hanshaw worked hard as a leader in Thompson Middle School to secure a grant  with her health and physical education teachers through the Fuel Up to Play 60 program. This grant provided the funds for a walking program and healthy breakfast program for students who wished to take advantage it. Deidrea was able to apply for a grant for a herself and a staff member to attend the Fuel Up to Play 60 Summit. This is a four day event that this year took place in Atlanta, GA. This program is sponsored primarily by the National Dairy Council and the NFL. Deidrea was one of two hundred students from across the nation to be chosen to attend this summit. She participated in an incredible student leadership program, while Beth Ten Eyck, health and physical education teacher at Tourtellotte Memorial High School, participated in professional development that will help lead the department in building a better program, and using the tools that Fuel Up to Play 60 provides.

While in Georgia, the pair stayed on the beautiful Agnes Scott College, where they were provided with amazing farm fresh food, and the opportunity to meet different NFL players everyday. When Deidrea was asked her favorite parts of the conference she said she loved starting every day with 60 minutes of activity, that NFL players also participated in. She loved to hear the daily guest speakers that gave amazing advice, such as Ben Garland from the Atlanta Falcons and Jason Brown, NFL player turned dairy farmer. She was grouped with nine other students, and told me how quickly they all became friends, and how they will now be lifetime friends. The last thing she liked was being exposed to so many different healthy food options, giving her so many great new ideas for healthy living, and that she didn’t even mind the lack of “junk foods” while she was there. Mrs. Ten Eyck was able to network with other teachers from across the nation, gaining new ideas to bring to the district to help it grow in a healthy direction. She also enjoyed the guest speakers that the teachers got to hear, just as quarterback Alex Smith and olympian Aja Evans. Both Deidrea and Mrs. Ten Eyck enjoyed a behind the scene tour or Atlanta Falcons stadium, with some time to play on the field!

The all expenses paid trip was amazing, but the lessons learned will help staff and students for years to come, as we work to make changes in the district. While at the conference Deidrea worked on a specific idea for her school, and that was to cut back on school waste. She was given a leadership mentor, and developed a plan of action for the 2017-2018 school year. She and her teachers look forward to touring that plan into action as the new school year starts. The district also looks forward to future opportunities to work with Fuel Up to Play 60 in the future on grant programs that further provide our students with healthy lifestyle opportunities.