Students at North Forsyth High School are getting a second chance to eat early in the day if they missed breakfast.
The Second Chance Breakfast and Snack Attack is an extended 10-minute break that will offer students breakfast or a snack about 10:30 a.m., between first and second period.
Melita Wise, the principal at North Forsyth, said that more than 100 students participated during the first day of the pilot program.
Lauren Richards, the director of Child Nutrition for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, said that students really don’t think about eating breakfast.
“They get up in the morning,” Richards said. “They get going. They’re kind of focused on rolling out of bed and getting ready and getting to school, so sometimes breakfast or eating is an afterthought.”
But she said that once students get through that first block of the day, they are typically ready to eat something to help keep them focused and going in the morning.
Jose Alonzo, 15, a sophomore at North Forsyth, said he doesn't normally eat breakfast in the mornings at home because he's rushing to get ready for school.
Then when he arrives at school he is often busy working on homework, projects or catching up with teachers or administrators about meetings.
“I think it is a very good opportunity for students who don’t have time to eat breakfast,” Jose said of the new program. “I think it’s a good opportunity for students who are running late early in the morning from the time they get to school and don’t have time for the cafeteria. It’s a good time after first period to have a snack or breakfast in order for them to have a good day.”
At North Forsyth, which has just under 1,000 students, breakfast is served from 8:30 a.m. to 8:50 a.m. and students are assigned to one of three lunch times between noon and 2 p.m.
Kristina Hilton, the zone supervisor for Child Nutrition, said that the Second Chance Breakfast will be similar to the regular breakfast menu, adding that the students will be able to choose from a hot item or a prepackaged item.
Food items include sausage biscuits and chicken biscuits.
Snack items include chips, cookies, bottled water, and other beverages, including milk and juices.
North Forsyth is one of 39 schools in the district that are part of the Community Eligibility Provision where all students receive breakfast and lunch for free.
Richards said that Community Eligibility Provision is part of the USDA’s national school lunch and school breakfast program.
“It identifies schools that have a need for students to be provided better access and easier access to meals,” she said.
Wise came up with the idea for the program after discussions with other administrators and staff, then asked the Child Nutrition Department to help set it up.
“We wanted students to have a chance to get breakfast if they missed it, which was part of it, but then also just an opportunity to get a snack in that in between time,” Wise said.
Last year, the school administrators and staff noticed something happening during first lunch.
“What we found was our students who had our 2nd and 3rd lunch were trying to slip into first lunch, just to grab something to hold them over until they ate an hour later,” Wise said.
She said students would leave the cafeteria with items such as chips, drinks or a full lunch then head to class.
“They were hungry,” Wise said. “That impacts how they focus. It impacts their engagement in the classroom. So we were just looking for an opportunity to meet the needs of kids.”
In addition, some students enter the building just as school is starting.
“We don’t want students missing class to get breakfast because they were late,” Wise said.
The Second Chance Breakfast and Snack Attack program provide an opportunity for students to get breakfast but not miss class, she said.
“If we built in an extended break that had a snack opportunity then they would be on time to class and sort of feel better,” she said.