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Schools kick off breakfast week with celebrities, taste test


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  • Lisa Irish/Arizona Education News Service

Courtesy Of Sheri Ottersen At Osborn Elementary School District

Many schools in Arizona and around the country celebrated National School Breakfast Week from March 7 through 11 with administrators and local celebrities serving students a good meal to start the day.

Schools kick off breakfast week with celebrities, taste test JessiGradillasAndKyreneDeLosNinosStudentsAtBreakfast1000

Miss Arizona’s Outstanding Teen Jessi Gradillas met with Kyrene de los Ninos students last week and served breakfast as part of the school’s National School Breakfast Week celebration. Photo courtesy Kyrene School District.

Celebrity visits

Arizona Cardinals’ punter Drew Butler served Breakfast in the Classroom to third graders in Tim Knorr’s class at Papago School in Phoenix’s Creighton Elementary School District on Tuesday, then answered questions and headed out to the field to exchange passes and punts with students, said Jay Mann, chief of business operations and development for the urban district.

At Kyrene de los Ninos Elementary School in Tempe, Miss Arizona Madi Esteeves and Miss Arizona’s Outstanding Teen Jessi Gradillas met with students and served breakfast last week, said Nancy Dudenhoefer, communications director for Kyrene Elementary School District.

Taste test

Related story: More districts add free breakfast

At Osborn Elementary School District in Phoenix, students took part in a taste test for a new breakfast item, said Sheri Ottersen, child nutrition director for the Phoenix school district.

Schools kick off breakfast week with celebrities, taste test OsbornStudentsTasteTest

Osborn Elementary School District students take part in a taste test of overnight oatmeal during National School Breakfast Week. Photo courtesy of Osborn Elementary School District

The students tasted overnight oats, made with oats, milk, blueberries, a little cinnamon and brown sugar and topped with “just a dab of agave syrup, because the kids like to see that,” said Cory Alexander, child nutrition coordinator at the Phoenix district.

“It went great, the kids really enjoyed it,” Alexander said. “We told them what was in the food they were going to eat, and we asked for their feedback. We served it to them, and a bunch of kids came back telling us how much they enjoyed it and thank you.”

Schools kick off breakfast week with celebrities, taste test OvernightOatmealRecipe

Courtesy of Sheri Ottersen at Osborn Elementary School District

Kayla Anderson, child nutrition coordinator, said “All of them were asking the ingredients, and they were surprised they liked it and that it tasted the way it did. A lot of them had never had it (oatmeal)  before.”

Before a new item is offered in the school cafeterias, the district often offers students a taste test, Ottersen said.

“When a child comes through the breakfast line and it’s something new, they’re often not that adventurous, because they don’t want to risk being hungry later if they don’t like it,” Ottersen said.

More kids eating breakfast at school

Schools kick off breakfast week with celebrities, taste test Drew-Butler-and-Tim-Knorr-Serve-Breakfast10001

Arizona Cardinals Drew Butler and Teacher Tim Knorr serve breakfast to students in Knorr’s classroom at Papago Elementary School. Photo courtesy Creighton School District

About half of the district’s 3,000 students eat breakfast at school, while the lunch count is about 90 percent of students, Ottersen said.

“Osborn has always offered breakfast to its students at no cost,” Ottersen said. “We put a lot of emphasis into how important breakfast is every day for kids.”

Many parents serve their children breakfast at home, but “we also think we have kids that like breakfast so much, they eat it twice,” Ottersen said.