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Emerson, Dethrow visit local school

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Missouri politicians come see food program in person

FOOD POWER: Rep. Jo Ann Emerson and state Rep. Mike Dethrow visit with Alton Elementary School students Oct. 11 when University Extension brought the Food Power Adventure to the school. Alton High School student Jessica Mitchner, seated, served as a student presenter for the program.

ALTON -- Students at Alton Elementary School had a unique experience last week when the Food Power Adventure came to their school. The students also had two special guests, Rep. Jo Ann Emerson,who came to visit with students and the see the Food Power Adventure in person, and state Rep. Mike Dethrow, who lives in Alton.

The program, sponsored by University Outreach and Extension, gives students an inside look at how food turns into energy.

Students in grades kindergarten through fifth grade experienced traveling through the Food Power Adventure.

"Students start at a pizza farm, inspect labels on milk cartons in the food packaging area and pick up food tags in the cafeteria station. Then they are on their way through the digestive system so they can change their food to power and try it out in the muscle and bone stations," said Valerie Kuczek, Oregon County nutrition associate with University Extension.

Besides Emerson, Kris Hoffman, state coordinator with the Food Power Adventure for St. Louis, was also at the school.

He explained that there are nine five-minute stations in the adventure. Hoffman said he and his staff bring the traveling adventure to schools in the eastern region of Missouri, which includes Oregon County. This was the first time the Food Power Adventure had come to Alton. Kuczek said last spring the same adventure was at Thayer Elementary School.

Emerson said she saw and learned."Alton Schools and the University of Missouri Extension have a great plan at work to meet the nutritional needs of our students and preschool children. I am proud of the initiative they have taken through the Family Nutrition Education Program. I enjoyed learning about the program and the positive results it has achieved. Health, nutrition and fitness are important building blocks that enable our children to learn better in school. The FNEP is interesting and fun, and is a valuable resource for southern Missouri," Emerson said.

She and Dethrow received a full tour of all nine stations in the adventure and both said they were impressed with the program.

"Any time the opportunity arrives to teach children about good eating habits and nutrition it is good. There is nothing better than demonstration projects to help teach students and adults," Dethrow said.

Students from Alton High School who participated in the Oregon County Youth Summit, another program sponsored by University Extension, served as presenters or helpers for the program.

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