Breakfast expansion going well in Hill City

By Jeff Smith

First-graders Yazmin Escobar and Kaylee McCoy enjoy breakfast in the classroom on Jan. 8.

In the past there have  been only a handful of students at Hill City Elementary that would get breakfast through the Hill City school district. The school district started Breakfast in the Classroom recently to have more students eat breakfast. There were 104 students who participated the Breakfast in the Classroom the first day of the second semester. On Jan. 8 that number was around 120.

This is a huge increase from the average daily number of elementary students  participating in getting breakfast, which is 9. Roxann DuBois, food services manager for Hill City School District, said everything is going quite well with breakfast expansion.

She expects to see an increase as families get more comfortable with it and it becomes part of their routine. On Jan. 8, DuBois was preparing for the next installment of the breakfast expansion by installing posters in the cafeteria. The idea is to create a unique locations that the students feel more comfortable hanging out before class. Soon, middle school students will be the only ones using the cafeteria with high school students being able to get breakfast through a mobile cart.

The menu for the Breakfast in the Classroom rotates each week, Monday through Friday. Right now the students receive a sack full of breakfast items with milk.

“The students seem very happy,” DuBois said.

When Dubois gets comfortable handling all of the logistics with Breakfast in the Classroom she would like to offer hot breakfast items. She is thinking that it might happen by March.

Every student in the school district can have breakfast for $1 thanks to a donation by Mike and Erica Welu. 

Jamie Duprey, second grade teacher at Hill City Elementary, said that over half of her class takes part in Breakfast in the Classroom. One of the things she learned is that even with her own children, they are happier when they are fed.

“It’s nice too because if they’re not ready to eat in the morning they can eat here,” Duprey said.

Duprey’s concern for the program was that it would be too much of a time waster and be a distraction but she learned that there are so many distractions in the morning anyway.

“It’s a nice way to greet students and ask them about their morning,” Duprey said.

Alan Harvey, second-grader at Hill City Elementary, said that he likes getting to eat breakfast at the school. He might not always get to eat but said that he usually gets jellied toast for breakfast.

Karen McKee, teacher at Hill City Elementary, said it’s too early to see the difference in the students but doesn’t foresee many problems happening.

“It doesn’t take much time to eat,” McKee said.

Thirteen students out of 17 in her combined kindergarten/first grade class take part in the program. McKee said some students eat breakfast at home and at school. She said for some parents their mornings are just too full for breakfast.

This new expansion supports the school district while supporting the students and their families.

“There’s so much information that says that breakfast is the starting point to their day to say the least and it gives them nutrition for their brains and bodies to work,” DuBois said.

Offering breakfast in the classroom will increase attendance and ensure students are starting their day right.