Each year, Gov. John Hickenlooper encourages schools and/or districts to participate in the Colorado School Breakfast Challenge, with a goal to increase student participation in schools with the School Breakfast Program. It is an annual competition, presented by Hunger Free Colorado and Colorado No Kid Hungry, that has a unique design and measurement, and winning schools and/or districts receive an award, presentation, and prize money for being breakfast champions.
From implementing innovative serving models like Breakfast in the Classroom to creating “breakfast clubs,” school officials and students have embraced the challenge of improving their breakfast programs and increasing participation throughout the year.
- Find out about the 2013-14 Breakfast Games.
- Learn about the annual Colorado School Breakfast Challenge, as well as see past challenge winners.
Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day, and the Breakfast Games invites schools across Colorado to strive for gold in an annual school challenge. This year’s competition includes more than a dozen middle schools vying for the title of “Breakfast Games Champion,” and the winning schools — the two with the largest increase in breakfast participation — will receive cash prizes.
The Games opened September 2013 and runs through January 2014, with a goal to increase student participation in the School Breakfast Program. The top schools will be crowned champions during National School Breakfast Week in March 2014. The winners will be awarded prize money — $5,000 for “gold” and $3,000 for “silver.” Those that reach 90-percent participation will also receive a $1,000 “ultimate achiever” award.
The participating schools are:
Adams 12 Five Star Schools
– Northglenn Middle School
– The International School at Thornton Middle School
Aurora Public Schools
– Mrachek Middle School
– South Middle School
Charter School Institute
– The Pinnacle Charter School – Middle
Greeley-Evans School District 6
– Brentwood Middle School
– Heath Middle School
– John Evans Middle School
Harrison School District 2
– Fox Meadow Middle School
Jeffco Public Schools
– O’Connell Middle School
– Wheat Ridge Middle School
Mesa County Valley School District 51
– Bookcliff Middle School
– Grand Mesa Middle School
– Mount Garfield Middle School
– Orchard Mesa Middle School
Montezuma-Cortez School District Re-1
– Cortez Middle School
Pueblo County School District 70
– Liberty Point International
Creative ideas fuel each school’s participation, including student-run promotions and activities such as “breakfast clubs” and displays to showcase the importance of breakfast. School officials and district personnel are rallying around the competition as well by implementing innovative serving models like Breakfast in the Classroom.
2012-13 Breakfast Games
Bringing home “gold” served as a driving force for 24 high schools vying in this year’s Colorado School Breakfast Challenge, called the 2012-13 Breakfast Games. With a goal to improve overall student participation in their breakfast program, each competing school saw an up-tick in participation over the five-month period. Six schools around the state will be recognized as winners of the challenge with an award and cash prize ranging from $2,000 to $4,000 during National School Breakfast Week.
The 2012-13 Breakfast Games, presented by the Colorado No Kid Hungry Campaign, opened in September 2012 and ran through January 2013. The 24 invited high schools competed in three categories, and the top two schools with the highest overall participation rate in each category will be crowned champions at on-site award ceremonies, with two happening on March 7 and 8. One school also received an honorary “bronze” prize for a nearly 40 percent percentage-point increase in overall participation.
“All children in Colorado deserve to have access to a nutritious breakfast so they can be prepared to learn and succeed in school,” said Gov. John Hickenlooper. “This year’s competition shows that schools statewide can make strides in their breakfast program’s participation. We applaud all of the participating schools for being breakfast champions.”
The complete list of the 2012-13 winners is as follows:
For the innovative breakfast-serving model with all-student access:
- Northridge High School of Weld County School District 6 awarded gold and $4,000
- Centennial High School of Pueblo City 60 School District awarded silver and $2,000
For the innovative breakfast-serving model with free or reduced-price qualifying student access:
- Pueblo County High School of Pueblo County School District 70 awarded gold and $4,000
- Central High School of Mesa County Valley School District 51 awarded silver and $2,000
For the traditional breakfast-serving model:
- George Washington High School of Denver Public Schools awarded gold and $4,000
- Wheat Ridge High School of Jeffco Public Schools awarded silver and $2,000
Special recognition for the largest participation increase by percentage point:
- Wasson High School of Colorado Springs School District 11 awarded $1,000
The campaign recognizes all of the other participating high schools in the 2012-13 Breakfast Games for their achievement of increasing their breakfast program’s participation:
Colorado Springs / Pueblo
- Mitchell High School of Colorado Springs School District 11
- Central High School, East High School and South High School of Pueblo City 60 School District
Denver / Front Range
- Adams City High School of Adams School District 14
- Westminster High School of Adams School District 50
- Gateway High School of Adams-Arapahoe 28J School District
- Overland High School of Cherry Creek School District
- Abraham Lincoln High School, East High School, Martin Luther King Jr. Early College, Montbello High School and South High School of Denver Public Schools
- Jefferson High School of Jeffco Public Schools
- Skyline High School of St. Vrain Valley School District RE 1J
- Greeley Central High School and Greeley West High School of Weld County School District 6
“Eating breakfast is linked to higher math scores, higher academic achievement, lower truancy, lower absenteeism, fewer visits to the school nurse, and better behavior in the classroom,” said Kathy Underhill, executive director of Hunger Free Colorado, the state’s leading anti-hunger organization. “Providing a nutritious start to the school day is not only an effective way to address child hunger, but it also helps set up Colorado students for success.”
Thanks to the following organizations for their support during the 2012-13 Breakfast Games: USDA, Cooking Matters Colorado, Western Dairy Association and the Olympic Training Center.
The annual challenge is presented by Hunger Free Colorado and the Colorado No Kid Hungry campaign, a statewide, public-private initiative working to ensure that all children have nutritious food at home, at school and in their communities.
The campaign’s comprehensive five-year plan details 10 goals to end child hunger by 2015, with one focused on the statewide expansion of the School Breakfast Program. This program, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, offers students who qualify for free or reduced-price meals with a healthy start to each school day.
Studies show that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, particularly for children. Those who do not eat a regular, nutritious morning meal may be more likely to struggle with poor academic performance, exhibit behavior problems and experience poor health. Eating breakfast can contribute to improved math and reading skills, along with standardized test scores. It also can help decrease tardiness and suspensions as well as improve memory, attentiveness and overall health.
Hunger Free Colorado works with schools and communities to increase participation in the School Breakfast Program by assisting with the implementation of innovative serving models that incorporate breakfast as part of the school’s morning routine. Instead of the traditional method of serving breakfast in the cafeteria before classes start, elementary to high schools can make it easier for students with serving models like Breakfast in the Classroom, Grab and Go, Breakfast After First Period and Breakfast on the Bus.
“The School Breakfast Program is proven to improve children’s nutrition, education, behavior and overall well-being, and it’s also one of the most effective ways to end child hunger in our state,” said Kathy Underhill, executive director of Hunger Free Colorado. “Together, we can provide more students with a nutritious start to the day and ensure fewer children go hungry at school.”
Learn more about the School Breakfast Program, Hunger Free Colorado’s efforts and what you can do to help.