Local middle school boosts attendance by adding smoothies to breakfast menu

(Photo: Aisha Mbowe)

KINSTON, Lenoir County - Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day, especially for students, which is why one local school system is working to get more students through their cafeteria doors.

Every weekday morning, dozens of students at Rochelle Middle School pour into the cafeteria to grab breakfast. Thanks to a new addition to the menu this school year, the line grows longer every day.

"I wouldn't think that we have smoothies at breakfast," Yehezkel Chapman, a student at Rochelle Middle School, said.

That's right -- the smoothies are just one of the new items you'll find on some school menus in the local area.

"That has really enticed our middle school students and they are really excited about," Danielle Smith, Lenoir County Public Schools Nutrition Director, said.

Finding healthy options that students like was the goal for Smith this year. Her hope was that the new additions would boost the number of students starting their days off with something in their stomach.

The results are not only evident in students' reactions, but also in the numbers. Rochelle Middle School cafeteria workers are now feedings anywhere between 363 and 373 students each morning, compared to only 240 students last year, according to Smith.

"The smoothies are making a huge difference in that we found something that they really like that they really want to take with them back to class," Smith said.

Lenoir County Public Schools already offer free breakfast and lunch at school. Smith said that the school system is also working on adding more "home-feel" items to their lunch menu.

Changes are only at Rochelle Middle School as of now, but Smith hopes the local high schools will follow.

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