Assignment: Education – Universal Breakfast Program

The so-called most important meal of the day is now free for Meadowview Middle School students

Dawn is one of the quietest times of the school day, except for in the kitchen at Meadowview Middle School in Sparta.

But a noisy kitchen isn’t anything new for staff. However, preparing enough food for all of the kids at school is.

“The whole school this year is free for breakfast,” said Teresa Kobernick, who has worked for the Sparta School District nutrition program for 27 years.

The Universal Breakfast Program started at Meadowview Middle at the beginning of the school year.

“You heard the buzz in the hallway… ‘They have free breakfast,'” said Cindy Thesing, nutrition services supervisor for the Sparta School District. “So, many are participating that otherwise might not.”

“I’d probably just have cereal at home,” said Mathew Bollig, Meadowview Middle School seventh-grader.

In fact, the number of students eating breakfast at school this September doubled from last September.

“Not only because it’s free but because it’s easier to stay concentrated,” said Bollig.

“Hopefully we’ll see the results in the classroom on our students’ academic abilities and their test scores,” said Jeff Krull, Meadowview Middle School principal.

Fifty-one percent of the children at Meadowview Middle qualify for free and reduced-priced meals. Because of this high percentage, the school gets reimbursed from the federal government for offering free breakfast to everyone.

“All children deserve access to a healthy breakfast whether it’s at home or at school,” said Thesing.

“As a parent, It’s just good to know that if we’re running late in the morning, my children will still be able to come to school and still get a nutritious breakfast,” said Lynn Mohr, Meadowview Middle School parent and teacher.

And for those parents who can’t afford to feed their kids at home, they can also get a nutritious meal without the stigma associated with school breakfast because it is now free for everyone.

“I had a little boy come up to me and gave me a hug and he says, ‘I really love your breakfast,'” said Kobernick. “He said, ‘you guys make the best breakfast ever.’ And that was heartwarming because you just don’t know.”

And not knowing which children can and cannot afford breakfast makes the free meal more appetizing to kids who may not want to eat for fear of being labeled poor.