by Lisa Tome
You may "never get a second chance to make a first impression".
But if you attend Rising Sun Middle School, you do get a second chance to have breakfast.
Shortly after the new year, Rising Sun Middle began piloting a program which is designed to get kids to feed their brains and bodies. In addition to offering regular breakfast at school arrival time, there is now Second Chance Breakfast.
Second Chance Breakfast occurs about an hour into the school day. Between their first and second classes of the day, students may buy food at kiosks in the school lobby.
"These kids come to school so early. Lots of times they don't know if they're hungry yet," said Kathy Thomas, Supervisor for Food and Nutrition for Cecil County Public Schools. "Some people don't feel like eating when they first get up."
The items offered include several selections per day. Varieties include bagels, cereal, juice, fruit, breakfast pizza, breakfast burrito, and more.
And in the short time it's been offered, the numbers of students eating has increased. In November 2014, average daily breakfasts consumed at Rising Sun Middle was 61. In December, it was 59. Now the average is 140 students per day.
"It has made a big difference. We have another 80 kids eating," said Thomas.
For 180 days per year, students in the county are eating as many as two meals a day at school. Some eat what's served in the cafeteria, others bring food from home.
Eighth grader Hailey Hovatter said she is grateful that her stepmother takes time to pack a lunch for her. Last Thursday, Hovatter had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, pretzels, water, squeeze yogurt, cookies, an orange, and a granola bar.
Christopher Fultz was eating lunch which was packed by his grandmother. He had a turkey sandwich, fruit roll-up, cheese crackers, water, and Doritos. "It saves money if you bring lunch," said Fultz.
Sydney Wiggins said packing lunch is preparing her for the future. She had prepared her own meal, a turkey sandwich, pretzels, and water. "My mom likes me to have my own responsibilities," said Wiggins. "I'm going to have to do it in the future anyway so it's better to start young."
Tyler Clarke, also an eighth grader, buys lunch at school. Last week he was eating nachos and onion rings with chocolate milk. Clarke said he enjoys the school made cheesesteaks and orange chicken.
Christian York said he buys lunch at school daily. He likes the nachos, mozzarella sticks, and pizza. "School lunch is good," said York.
Jasper Hershour said school lunch is a "good value". He likes the orange chicken and rice, onion rings, and more. "Most of the time, I like it," said Hershour.
Travis Benner is the school's assistant principal. He said he eats school lunch sometimes and brings his own meals other days. "The holiday turkey dinner, I always eat that. I think the cafeteria food is wonderful. They are now offering all this southwest stuff which I really like. It's convenience and quality food. I eat the lunch here, frequently," said Benner.
Lauren Schmid manages the RSMS cafeteria. She said that pizza, mozzarella sticks, chicken patty, and orange chicken are top sellers for lunch. The meals cost $2.60 and milk is 50 cents. Chocolate, strawberry, and lowfat white milk are offered. She also said meal time is a good time at the school. "This is a wonderful school. The kids are nice and polite. Out of all the schools I ever worked in, these kids are the most respectful," said Schmid.