Woodlynde Needs to Offer Breakfast

Many Woodlynde students are missing the single most important meal of their day.
By Darrell Moten
Staff Writer

Imagine waking up in the morning and missing breakfast because you had to rush to school. Being hungry can lead to being cranky, low on energy, and having trouble concentrating in class.

For many Woodlynde students, this is their reality. They are missing the single most important meal of their day. Breakfast “replenishes your supply of glucose and provides other essential nutrients to keep your energy levels up throughout the day,” BetterHealth.vc.gov says.

So, if it’s that important, why don’t more students eat breakfast in the morning?

This is a huge concern for Writing teacher
Mrs. Eckert. She believes that Woodlynde should create a system that serves students — and also faculty — breakfast so that students can be more focused in the morning.

“Many students don’t eat breakfast and therefore are not at their best for their morning classes,” Mrs. Eckert said. “It also would be a nice opportunity for students (and faculty) to socialize.”

Mrs. Eckert suggested that an optional breakfast run from 7 to 7:45 a.m. for interested students in grades 6-12 and faculty. Students could buy yogurt, granola, fruit, cold cereal, bagels, juice, milk, and water. All food would need to be finished before 7:45, because “I don’t think students should be allowed to eat breakfast during their first-period class,” Mrs. Eckert said. “Too distracting!”

Students who arrive early like the idea of getting served breakfast before school. “
I would love that because most of the time I don’t get to eat in the morning,” junior Kendra Hyvarinen said. “I get here around 7:20. I live 30 minutes away in the morning, so I have no time to eat.”

But could this even be possible?

Food Service Manager
Mr. Joe Ponessa says that it can be done, but there would need to be a significant amount of changes and assistance from the administration and faculty.

“Some of the other schools in the area offer a simplified breakfast (bagels one day a week, donuts one day, and some sort of constant on the other days, like breakfast bars and whatnot) and have student groups sell it as a fundraiser,” Mr. Ponessa said, suggesting that Woodlynde could offer this option, as well.

Mr. Ponessa and Mrs. Eckert suggested that student council, prom committee, sports teams, and NHS could chime in on the project and volunteer to help.

“It could conceivably be a decent source of money for Woodlynde to fund student activities,” he said.

Assistant Head of School
Mrs. Shank said that before anything could happen, it’s important to find out how many people would want breakfast, among other information.

“Before our Leadership Team would consider this as a possibility, the first thing we would need to know is how many students/faculty members would be interested in this opportunity, understanding that they would need to pay for their breakfast,” she said.

There would also need to be adult volunteers.

“We would need to have faculty or staff members willing to take on the responsibility of preparing or purchasing food. We might also need to consider the ages of students that can take advantage of this opportunity and the supervision that would be needed,” Mrs. Shank said.

Also, if the breakfast service was approved, there would need to be a clean-up system where students were expected to leave the cafeteria floor and tables clean before leaving.

Eleven years ago, Woodlynde attempted to serve breakfast. It only lasted a year, though, before it was phased out.

PE teacher “
Mrs. Price and I offered items and beverages for purchase at breakfast time several years back in support of our Prom Committee,” Mrs. Shank said. “Students expressed interest, but then hardly any teachers or students purchased food, and the food perished before it was utilized.”

“Therefore,” Mrs. Shank said, “in order to move forward with an idea of this type, we would need to feel comfortable that we have a plan in place that would serve our students and our school before presenting it to our Leadership Team.”

My goal is to offer breakfast for the Upper School, so stay tuned for an update in the future.

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Woodlynde School is a private, co-ed college prep day school located in suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that serves intelligent, talented students with learning differences in grades K - 12. Woodlynde provides a comprehensive, evidence-based Kindergartenelementarymiddle and high school program in a challenging yet nurturing environment for students with average to above average cognitive abilities (IQ) who have language- or math-based learning differences (such as Dyslexia, Dysgraphia or Dyscalculia), Executive Function Challenges, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), or Auditory Processing Disorder. Even for those students without a diagnosed learning disability (LD), Woodlynde offers expert and caring teachers in small classroom settings that support academic success. Woodlynde School also offers a post-graduate (PG) program in partnership with Rosemont College as well as a regional Summer Camp for students who learn differently.