MAY 5, 2016 LAST UPDATED: THURSDAY, MAY 5, 2016, 12:31 AM
BY MIKE LAMBERTI
CORRESPONDENT | BELLEVILLE TIMES
Good nutrition and an emphasis on staying active has helped Belleville High School receive a prestigious award.
On April 29, representatives from the New Jersey Department of Agriculture and the National Football League’s New York Jets, visited BHS and presented a check for $5,000 to Superintendent of Schools, Richard Tomko, who accepted on behalf of the students and staff members.
Belleville was one of three divisional champions in the state that were honored by the NJ Department of Agriculture’s Jets PLAY 60. The emphasis was part of the ‘Eat Right, Move More’ program, as children nationwide are being encouraged to be more active.
The presentation was made at the Connie Francis Auditorium at Belleville High and was held before an enthusiastic group of high school students.
“It’s quite an honor for our school,” Tomko said. “We’ll be splitting the funds between our athletic department, where it will help in building the new weight training room and for our cafeteria, where nutrition and the awareness to eat well, continues to be very important for our students, and the staff.”
Reaching students, when it comes to good nutrition, is sometimes not as easy as it appears. But seeing an athlete who has worked hard to reach the pinnacle of his profession does resonate.
Adrien Robinson, a tight end with the Jets, was there to emphasize how important staying active is for youngsters.
Robinson (a three-year NFL veteran who played for the New York Giants from 2012-2014 before signing with the Jets this winter) impressed the students with his banter and hard-work ethic.
“Eating well and staying active is so important to the New York Jets,” Robinson told the students. “When I was your age, I wasn’t eating nearly as well. It was more pizza and chicken fingers. I didn’t take it seriously. I was a wide receiver in high school, but then gained weight, and ended up being a tight end. I knew then I had to start working harder, and it paid off.”
Robinson, 27, grew up in Indianapolis and was a part of some great high school teams at Warren Central High School, where the program won four straight state titles during Robinson’s tenure.
Robinson then played on the collegiate level at the University of Cincinnati, and was good enough to become a fourth round draft pick of the New York Giants in 2012.
After three solid seasons with Big Blue, Robinson will play at the same stadium in 2016, as the Jets signed him in January.
Robinson was joined by the Jets Coordinator for Community Relations, Charles Wande, who added a lot of energy to the event.
Wande spoke about keeping the mind and body sharp by eating well, and also reiterated how hard Robinson has worked to make it to the NFL. He also put together a nice trivia game, with the winning participants receiving autographed photos and pictures with the Jets’ representatives.
Among the questions Robinson received was how much he trains on a weekly basis.
“I work out six days a week,” Robinson said. “And as hard as I work in the gym, I also eat well, with healthy meals and snacks, and organic foods which make me feel much better. Compared to 30 years ago, there is so much more that can be done. It’s about dedication and commitment.”
The Jets PLAY 60 “Eat Right, Move More” program is a partnership between the Jets, the Department of Agriculture, and the American Dairy Association North East, which encourages New Jersey school children to take advantage of healthy foods in their school cafeterias and become more active.
In a statement, the Jets indicated their commitment to good nutrition and staying active.
“As a professional football team that plays in New Jersey, the Jets take great pride in a long-standing, year-round commitment to our community. Programs funded by the New York Jets Foundation look to positively influence the lives of young men and women in the tri-state area by promoting fitness, supporting youth football and preventing bullying, particularly in disadvantaged communities.”