PHS Students

Project Healthy Schools has also taught us that we should get our heart rate up for at least a half an hour a day. The models that Project Healthy Schools provided were amazing and gave us a fantastic vision of what can happen to our bodies. The classes were very understandable and were quite active and entertaining. Project Healthy Schools was an amazing program and gave us an amazing visual of our futures.
- Lorin L., sixth-grade student at Newberry Middle School

My favorite part of PE class was learning about my heart and seeing the muscles and fat. It made me really think about exercise and what I eat. I exercised more this year than I ever have.
- Hannah, sixth-grade student at Sault Area Middle School

I have never had a green smoothie or kale. I tried the sample and I liked it, even though I thought it was going to taste bad! I will try to make this at home if I have a blender.
- Fifth-Grade Student at Marquette Middle School, Marquette

Trying yogurt parfaits during the kick-off was fun. We each got our own. I had never had one!
- Gavin, sixth-grade student at Ishpeming Middle School, Ishpeming

I had fun tasting the different kinds of apples. Jonagold was my favorite. The BHC/PHS lessons teach me to eat more fruits and vegetables. I am happy I got to try something new and healthy.
- Kaylin, sixth-grade student at Clarenceville Middle School, Livonia

The [BHC/PHS program] has helped me make better food decisions. Instead of choosing out of the cart at lunch I now choose some fruit or veggies. The wellness team has made me think about my future health.
- Tyler, student at White Pine Middle School, Saginaw

The BHC/PHS lessons were fun because I learned how to be healthy. I really liked the Sugar Shock lesson and seeing the fat and muscle models. It was fun to share some of the things I learned with my family. I now have been eating more fruits and vegetables in my lunches.
- Alyssa, student at Clarenceville Middle School

The whole school is healthy because of Project Healthy Schools. We have had a lot of good things in our school that we have needed. First, we all loved the apple contest. Everyone participated in it. Everyone in the school has been healthy since Project Healthy Schools came to our school. More students are eating the vegetables and fruits that are served. Second, we have had the health fair. We did a lot of activities and had really good exercise. Third, we had the 5K walk. Now the 5K is my most favorite thing that came to my school. I love to be walking for a long time, catching the fresh air. Also, I love having a day without work. Just catching the breeze on a beautiful day. Lastly, I enjoyed the healthy campaign. The students in the school ate a vegetable or fruit for a ticket. When they are done collecting tickets, we do drawings. There were prizes for the people that put the ticket in the box. Those are the reasons that I am glad that Project Healthy Schools came to my school.
- Alaisha, student and wellness team participant at Dixon Educational Learning Academy, Detroit

I feel that I learned what it really means to be healthy with the lessons in Project Healthy Schools. Now that I know how to make healthy changes in my life, I’m going to make those changes. I even took the recipe home from the lesson on making a colorful salad so that my family could try it too. They really like it.
- Ashley, sixth-grade student, Johnson Upper Elementary School, Livonia

I had fun dressing up at the BHC/PHS Kickoff. It was fun to introduce the sixth graders to the five BHC/PHS goals and get them excited about eating more vegetables, such as carrots!
- Mekyla, seventh-grade student at Michigan Technical Academy, Redford

 It was fun making the salad, which I made at home. I’ve learned a lot about health and it’s very important. We get to learn this and it’s fun! I now am eating breakfast every day which I didn’t do before. What I learned from BHC/PHS-Wellness Wednesday is that it is important for me to break my fast. BHC/PHS is effective since it makes me think about my health.
- Morgan, student at Swartz Creek Middle School, Swartz Creek

 Wellness Wednesday has impacted me by influencing me to eat healthy foods. It also has influenced me by trying some pretty delicious foods such as rainbow salad, which was my favorite lesson. We made homemade pop, a better option for me than regular pop, since they contain so many unnecessary sugars.
- Jacob, student at Swartz Creek Middle School, Swartz Creek

 I wanted to be on the Wellness Team so I could voice my opinion about being healthy at school. I would like the whole school to be more active, which helps people wake up once they have been seated all the day. I wanted to be more active after lunch, instead of just talking at our tables. I believe, if we all participate with our new walking path -- students as well as teachers -- we can become healthier and more active as a school.
- Julia, sixth-grade student at White Pine Middle School, Saginaw

Project Healthy Schools is very fun and teaches us to be active and stay healthy.
- Alexis, sixth-grade student at T. L. Handy Middle School, Bay City

 I am so excited to have a bike to ride around my neighborhood this summer! I am so glad I came to the Family Fun Night!
- Desirae, student at T. L. Handy Middle School, Bay City

I like PHS class because it's fun and I get to try new things. They tell you what is good for you to eat. I had celery last week, and didn't like it before, but now I do.
- Malachi, sixth-grade student, Noble Elementary-Middle School, Detroit

I like when Project Healthy Schools brings in different foods to try because they taste good.
- Kelsey, sixth-grade student, Bryant Middle School, Dearborn

My favorite lesson was the fruit salsa and what colors of fruit we are suppose to eat. I liked it because it was fun cutting up the fruits and trying it. Three things I learned were: You are supposed to get 30 minutes of exercise each day. The serving size for chips is way smaller than ¼ of a bag. They get famous people to try and get you to buy their product! Now I get 40 minutes of exercise every day and I make fruit salsa for my family, and we eat healthier.

I really like everything we learned. It was fun! My favorite lesson was when we learned about how much fat was in stuff. It was crazy how much fat is in something so small. I also liked it when we made up the commercial. I learned a lot! One of the things I learned is not everything is bad for you at fast food places. Another thing I learned was that serving size for chips is less than ¼ of the bag. The last thing I learned was that fruit & veggie salsa is good! I think all of this stuff will make me think and choose even more healthy choices! Thank you sooooo much!!

My favorite lesson that you taught was when we did the skits. It was really fun! I also enjoyed when we played MOVE! I moved a lot! One change I put into my life was smaller portions of food, I really enjoy it! I am also eating fruit for a snack every day at school.

I thought that the PHS overview was the most fun activity that we did. It was really fun and it helped us remember the things you taught us. I also liked the Assessing Advertising lesson. It helped us learn not to get everything on TV that looks good. Thank you for teaching us.

I learned that every day you’re supposed to get 30–60 minutes of exercise. I also learned that you’re supposed to eat a balanced meal every meal but it is okay to have a healthy snack. Thank you for teaching us all this information. You taught us all about food and making healthy choices. You also taught us about not spending too much screen time.

Because of you I am going to make healthier choices. I am also going to spend less screen time every day. I will exercise more too. Thank you so much for coming and teaching us. Have a great year!


I am Zachary’s mom. I wanted to take the time to let you know what an amazing impression you have made on Zachary. Your work will impact him for a lifetime. We are working on Zachary’s weight right now in a health driven way.  He’s always been a big kid,but in the past year he has put on a large amount of weight. We are a very athletic family but he was dealt some rough genes.  And since he’s our oldest--we are learning about this age--very centered on video games, YouTubing, and other non-active things. It’s catching up with him. We know a lot of it is our fault just letting it happen before us. The things you are teaching him is carrying into our home.  We are hoping to help him get some weight off so he is never held back by it. Thank you for what you have taught him about this, because it’s making a difference. Thank You!

I have to tell you that my 6th grader is now Miss Healthy Eater. She won’t let me drive near a fast food restaurant. She reads labels all the time, eats lots of salads and fruits and never hesitates to comment on the eating habits of mom, dad and little sister. ("You’re going to eat THAT??!!")

I do appreciate the program!! Keep up the great work!!

Wanted to let you know how much of an impact your talk with the students at King had: My daughter gave an eloquent argument as to why we would be healthier and is more intent on eating a balanced diet (something we always have talked about and tried to work on as an interesting project that the whole family should be aware and involved in.) She was quite taken with your talk and is teaching us from it as well! Pretty cool huh?! Thanks so much.


The lessons were engaging and exciting in the classroom.
- Susan Lahti, teacher and wellness champion at Boyne City Middle School

Project Healthy Schools has changed the way Marshall Greene Middle School has approached health on our campus.
- Sarah Klein, teacher and wellness champion at Marshall Green Middle School, Birch Run

It can often be a challenge getting students to generalize what they learn in schools to their real lives. However, the lessons arranged by PHS allow for this to happen naturally and give students the opportunity to share.
- Katie Sweers, teacher and wellness champion at Michigan School for the Deaf

I loved the richness within the 'Facts on Fat' lesson! As a teacher, I loved the hands-on approach to learning about fat. In addition, the students really loved making personal connections to their fast food eating habits. There were many vocabulary words that the students were taught and that were reinforced throughout the lesson. I love all the science and cross-subject integration within this lesson! Well done, PHS!
- Liz Flynn, wellness champion at St. Thomas the Apostle School

I had a student who was obese. He said, 'Mr. Warko, I am listening to what you have to say, because I need to lose some of this weight. I wanted to run with my classmates but I can't right now. I am going to have more fruits and vegetables and less juice. I thought juice was healthy... I didn't know juice had that much sugar. I am going to just have water every day. I need to have more water.' Ryan lost 15 pounds in 10 weeks. He was so happy to see just a little change can make a change.
- Anthony Warkoczeski, wellness champion at Ferndale Middle School

Our staff this year did a six-week-long step competition. This overall staff wellness challenge resulted in a happier staff and it displayed teachers trying to practice healthy habits. Our students were receiving the lessons and seeing our staff members practice these PHS goals as well. This resulted in an increase of students talking about their steps for the day or week and drinking more water!
- Luke Kanine, wellness champion at E.R. Rittmueller

The lunch room has reported that they have an increase in the amount of vegetables that students are requesting and taking with their lunch. The cook stated that the eighth grade has the highest percentage of vegetable consumption which we believe is due to the healthy living and PHS lessons that they have received for two years. We feel that this is in direct correlation to the lessons and the understanding of why eating vegetables is important.
- Wellness champion, Powell Middle School

“I think [the salad bar] is wonderful. There are so many colors and items to choose from.
- Lena Thomas, Special Education Teacher at Dixon Educational Learning Academy, Detroit

Thank you PHS!  I do a lot of timed activities and the kids always want to know how much time?  What's my time?  etc., etc., etc.  This digital clock will be an awesome way to display it for them.  Thank you!
- Amy Nixon, teacher at Manistique Middle School, Manistique

Having a day for staff appreciation was good for our overall morale. We chose to do this during a staff [professional development] day and teacher feedback was very positive. We are going to try and offer more of the staff wellness days in the future.
- Lisa, teacher at White Pine Middle School, Saginaw

Thanks, Project Healthy Schools, for promoting school community wellness! Your support and guidance has helped us take some very promising first steps toward improving the health habits of students, staff and families in our community.
- Madeline Karcz, teacher at Noble Elementary-Middle School, Detroit

Being a part of the BHC/PHS program this year from one of the farthest distances has been challenging at times but the benefits and impact to our students and school community have far outweighed any challenges we have faced. Communication over the distance has been exceptional with my BHC/PHS representative and we have utilized google docs, e-mail and different online surveys to help us administer the program effectively. My BHC/PHS representative has been present on-site more than I ever imagined as well. Overall I do not believe the long distance has been my biggest challenge and that is greatly appreciated as a wellness champion being new to the program. 
- Kelly Merrill, teacher and wellness champion at Allendale Middle School, Allendale

The wellness team came together to put on multiple events this year. The largest was the end-of-year field day. All middle school students were able to participate in a variety of outdoor activities and every student was given a banana and a bottle of water!
- Paul McDonald, wellness champion and P.E. teacher at Columbia Middle School, Brooklyn

I thought it was hilarious that students would see Joanne Manning coming down the hall or in the lunchroom and drop to the ground and start doing push up!  Every time they see her they think, ‘What can I do to be healthy?’ I think the Caught Being Healthy Campaign was a wonderful success!
- Trisha Hopkins, teacher and co-wellness champion at Dixon Educational Learning Academy, Detroit

During our annual trip to Mackinac Island, almost all students chose to stop at the Subway, not the Arby’s or McDonalds, recalling the Facts on Fat lesson. We were all very impressed in the choices our students made.
- Abby Shunk, teacher and wellness champion at Marquette Middle School, Marquette

The Project Healthy Schools grant has changed the way we look at celebrating student success. It caused the Johnson staff to rethink using food as a reward. This has forced us to become more creative. Historically, students earned food treats for meeting behavior expectations. Now students earn the opportunity to say the pledge of allegiance over the school’s public address system.
- Kathy Weaver, student assistance program provider, Johnson Upper Elementary School, Livonia

Project Healthy Schools has really impacted students’ healthy food choices, during and after school. They come and are proud of their food choices and share their stories about eating healthier. One student in particular brought an empty container from a visit to the hospital to show me that the beverage was 100% fruit juice.
- Jennifer Rivera, health and physical education teacher, Johnson Upper Elementary School, Livonia

I feel it is so important to educate and show children that there is a wide array of healthy and nutritious foods out there that actually taste good. It’s also important to show them how much fun exercise can be and how great you feel afterward. The benefits are a bonus. BHC/PHS has such a great curriculum with support and tools that are tried and true!
- Laurie Johnson, co-wellness champion, Manistique Middle/High School, Manistique

Although an adult, I forget that being healthy is just about doing what’s best for my overall health. BHC/PHS has great health goals that challenge anybody, to become a healthier person.  I am impressed at how engaged students are. I was shocked to see how much my students enjoy new things to eat! I love the fact that they were going home and trying out some of the recipes they received. Overall, this program is quite beneficial and branches out from the students to challenge the adults they are around. Our staff will hopefully continue to gain better health because of the initiatives the wellness team is putting together. I’m quite excited to see what’s next!
- Erin Frances, teacher and wellness champion at Swartz Creek Middle School, Swartz Creek

White Pine Middle School is focused on the development of the whole child. As part of this focus, we are working with Project Healthy Schools to assist students in building healthy life-style habits; including excellent food choices and being physically active. One of the opportunities for physical activities at school has been the White Pine Walking Path. We now have about ½ of the students walking our path every week;far more than we even imagined! When students walk ten miles, they earn a “shoe.” As a student body, we are working to walk our way all the way to California!!
- Lisa Johnson, teacher at White Pine Middle School, Saginaw

The students on our wellness team thought of the idea to sell fruit-infuser water bottles. Our first day was a success! We plan to continue our fundraiser every Friday for the next 5 weeks.
- Claire Krukowski, teacher and wellness champion, Summit Middle School, Romulus

Our teaching team had great success this year. I was extremely impressed with how smoothly our lessons played out. Because it was our second time around, our teachers were far more comfortable with the material.
- Heather Richards, teacher and wellness champion at T.L. Handy Middle School, Bay City

My students have enjoyed the Project Healthy Schools lessons. I hear students talking about the food groups while eating their foods for breakfast. The "sugar shock" lesson has students looking at labels of their drinks in the morning and what they drink at home. My students are also reading food labels looking at sugars... Exercise has become a fun part as we move through our lessons. I am a member of the wellness team and I am looking forward to our total school activities, as well as staff activities. Students will enjoy activities and become healthy Wildcats." [Note from editor: the school mascot is the Wildcat.]
- Judi Zanotti, sixth-grade teacher, T. L. Handy Middle School, Bay City

A 6th grade student in my [class] mentioned that she would find it very difficult to meet our weekly goal since she does not eat fruits or vegetables other than one bite of broccoli that her mother encourages her to eat occasionally. The week of our colorful salad lesson I asked students to at least try the salad before making an opinion. I think, feeling a bit pressured, when everyone obliged my request to her delight she found that the salad "wasn't so bad and was actually quite good". She commented she would take the recipe home to her mom and was happy to find that the "peppers could be a healthy snack after all."
- Belinda Cleary, sixth-grade teacher and wellness champion, Summit Academy Middle School, Romulus

At St. Thomas we have learned that small changes can have a lasting, major impact. We have plans for altering our school cafeteria choices available for our students. We also plan to start an after school healthy snack bar for our athletics and extra-curricular after school programs. Gradually, the momentum behind the initiative to make the students more aware of how their own choices can improve their personal well-being is gaining speed. We anticipate making a positive difference for our students that could last them a lifetime.
- Ed Scott, athletic director and sixth- and seventh-grade teacher, St. Thomas the Apostle School, Ann Arbor

Being a caregiver for my father's two-month hospital stay this past summer from double heart valve replacement surgery, prompted me to change many of my poor health habits. Prior to that I was almost 80 pounds overweight, basically inactive, sleeping less than five hours per night, only drinking diet soda and mainly eating fast food. Consequently, during the summer I saw my primary care physician, had a physical, started a healthy diet and exercise plan, and set personal goals. Ironically, I began teaching Project Healthy Schools (PHS) in the fall. While each lesson I teach reinforces everything my physician, my father's doctors, and the exercise plan my doctor set up has taught me, I also have personally learned new helpful healthy living information in each lesson and have been able to share my honest enthusiasm with my students. Because of these factors, I have numerous success stories in my classes, as well as losing over 40 pounds personally. Thank you, BCBS, U of M, and PHS for the wonderful gift of health you've shared with us!
- A sixth-grade teacher, Mason Middle School, Waterford

All the fifth grade parents told me [of] the ideas and things their kids are telling them about from our wellness lessons. One parent commented that at breakfast she saw her daughter thinking and "counting". When she asked what she was doing, her daughter said she was making sure she had the right foods to make it a healthy breakfast.
- Diane Matuszak, fifth-grade teacher, Britton-Deerfield Schools: Deerfield Building, Deerfield

As a result of presenting the weekly lessons, I have seen the impact a teacher has on the students. I need to set the example for them on a daily basis and not just on PHS lesson days. I have cut my intake of carbonated beverages. I would have at least a 20 oz. bottle of pop each morning, and it was in plain view of the students. That wasn't a very good example. Since starting the lessons, I have cut down on my total intake of pop, having water or a low sugar beverage to set the example.
- Richard Espinoza, sixth-grade teacher, T.L. Handy Middle School, Bay City

A Scarlett 6th grader took the PHS message to heart and increased her daily physical activity by walking and running plus she changed her eating habits. Her teachers, Joan Grissing (6th grade teacher) and Mr. Cerniglia (PE teacher) were amazed by her persistence. She lost weight and gained a healthier lifestyle and outlook.

Thank you to each and every one of you. Friday’s 6th Grade Field Day was a great success. The weather was perfect. We had just the right amount of water and watermelon. The students were in a great mood and practically organized themselves! AND You all ROCKED! Thanks so much for your help, your smiles, your teamwork!

Thank you Project Healthy Schools for inviting FSEP to have a table at the field events at Slauson and Forsythe. They were wonderfully organized and very fun events and we really enjoyed the opportunity to share some farm fresh foods and connect with students and staff.

In one particular class, Mrs. Karen Meyer, a vibrant and enthusiastic teacher commented that this year her students were very complacent and unenthusiastic about EVERYTHING! Unwilling to participate in school fund raising contests, bored with new material and unenthusiastic about exciting new programs, she doubted they would participate in the 10 activities that are taught for PHS. She was assigned a young woman in her first year of medical school, Anuja Jain, who embraced these children and PHS with such enthusiasm and excitement, that with her weekly visit and the constant encouragement of both her and Mrs. Meyer, her class of 20 students rallied to win the PHS Healthy Tracker competition! Students logged their exercise minutes for one week, their fruit and vegetable selections for lunch for another week, and finally their beverage selection during the third week. Each advisory classroom in the 6th grade competed against each other for total points as a class. Mrs. Meyer’s and Anuja’s classroom was awarded the PHS cup trophy and a fruit smoothie party for their efforts!

Health Ambassadors

This was very inspiring to me personally to make improvements in my own habits. There were many hands on activities that I believe may have created some strong visual images for the kids (amount of sugar in a soda, the large blobs of fat in various foods, the models of fat vs. muscle). I think these might stay with the kids and motivate them to make better choices.

The most positive part of the experience is interacting with the kids and knowing that some of them really care about getting healthier.

I loved how the program worked to empower the kids to have the knowledge to be able to make their own well informed decisions about their health. It was a really fun experience and it was a pleasure working with the kids!

I very much enjoy the fact that the Health Ambassadors have the opportunity to get involved in a broad range of activities outside of the classroom. I think PHS is a very comprehensive program.

The kids’ enthusiasm and willingness to actively participate in all the discussions was great.


All of the sixth-grade students were given the opportunity to take part in the taste testing during the Valentine's Day event. They were able to try five different varieties of apples and vote on their favorite one.
- Michael Hedges, principal, Father Marquette Middle School, Marquette

We are very pleased with the way in which Project Healthy Schools has begun to transform the way our staff and students view their diet and lifestyles. Our staff has done a wonderful job, due to the education that this program has provided, at finding ways, other than food, to reward the students for positive behavior and to promote movement within their classrooms,
- Robert Witherspoon, assistant principal, Johnson Upper Elementary School, Livonia

During our kick-off week we provided different types of physical activity during lunch. The Navy came in and challenged our students in pull-ups and push-ups. They had lots of handouts for the students, which the students loved! A local cross-fit gym came in and put our students through one tough workout. They offered discounts to our students to come and participate at their gym. We also had a lady come in and teach our students Zumba. The girls loved it and the boys tried their best. We ended out the week with a dance party! The gym was packed full of students line dancing to the latest hits. They even managed to get me out and teach me a thing or two!
- Melissa Titsworth, assistant principal, Swartz Creek Middle School, Swartz Creek