On Monday, more than 1,200 schools from across the country were honored at the White House for meeting the HealthierUS School Challenge.
Walsh Elementary sixth-grade student Alex Roman had the opportunity to introduce First Lady Michelle Obama at the event, where she praised him in her speech! Alex's school met the HealthierUS School Challenge through Go for the Gold, a partnership of HSC and Chicago Public Schools with the USDA and Illinois State Board of Education to support schools in meeting the challenge. Alex has graciously shared his speech with HSC.
Alex Roman speaks during the Go for the Gold celebration
Read about his journey to a healthier lifestyle below:
Good afternoon everyone.
My name is Alex Roman. I am 12 years old and in sixth grade. At Walsh Elementary School, I have taken part in several programs that have helped me make healthier choices. For example, I have completed 10 5Ks and two 8Ks, improving my time with every race I complete. I work on following the "5-4-3-2-1" rules: five fruits and vegetables, four serveings of water, three servings of low-fat dairy, two hours or less of screen time, and one hour of phyiscal activity every day. I also play soccer and tennis and have enjoyed learning new sports to stay active and build my strength. I have also learned to make better food choices. I have changed my eating habits -- instead of eating junk food, I eat fruits like apples, bananas, and grapes.
Walsh has provided me with opportunities to improve my health and make better choices for myself. I have a new view of what I put in my body, after partcipating in various programs at Walsh. I am happy to be here today with someone who is helping other kids like me to stay active and be healthy. It is my pleasure to introduce First Lady Michelle Obama.Walsh Elementary has also taken steps to encourage good eatng habits by removing chocolate milk from the menu and adding a salad bar. We also participate in physical activity on a daily basis and have gym class at least twice a week. I also have soccer practice twice a week and a game every Friday.
Mrs. Obama remarked, "we can affect who they will be forever. Alex is not going to forget what he's learned and he's going to pass that on to his kids. You’re affecting not just how these kids feed themselves, but how they’re going to feed their own children. So the beauty is, is that you’re not just making this generation of kids healthier, but the next generation as well."
Earlier this summer, Walsh and 18 other Chicago Public Schools met the high standards of the HealthierUS School Challenge through Go for the Gold. (Since then, four more schools have met the challenge and dozens more are in the process of completing the application.) CPS chief Jean-Claude Brizard applauded these schools' efforts as a local embodiment of the first lady's Let's Move campaign.
Check out the Chicago Tribune's article spotlighting Alex's once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to speak at the White House ceremony and his efforts to live a healthier lifestyle.
We're so proud to see Alex and the Go for the Gold schools receive well-deserved recognition for their efforts to move school food and fitness forward!
Congratulations to all of the schools that were honored at the White House this week!
Bonus! Learn what message Chicago students are sending to First Lady Michelle Obama!