Martin visited the school for a fun and educational program and presented the school with a $5,000 grant to improve school food service and physical education programs, made possible by the Jets and the American Dairy Association North East.

Jets linebacker Josh Martin, with Jets and New Jersey Department of Agriculture officials,
present a $5,000 check to Linden High School officials.  (Photo: Courtesy of NJ Department of Agriculture)

“Prioritizing healthy foods and being active is so important for my daily routine to be successful on and off the field,” said Martin. “The Jets and the Department of Agriculture have a great program to motivate schools and students to live healthier lifestyles.”

Schools were judged on their efforts to provide children with fresh produce, healthy foods, nutrition education and opportunities to increase physical activity. They also were required to have at least 100 students participate in the Jets Play 60 Program, in which students must log one hour a day of activity for a week.

Linden High School offers fresh fruits and/or vegetables with school lunch on their daily Farm Stand. Some of their most creative menu items include theme days such as Caribbean Day and Smoothie Promotion Day, as well as Fruit and Vegetable of the Month features. In addition, over 100 students participated in and completed the Jets Play 60 portion of the program.

“The Linden Public School District couldn’t be more honored to receive this prestigious award. Our district is continually educating our students and staff about the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and making smart nutritional decisions,” said Athletic Director Steven Viana.

“This award will allow us to broaden the spectrum of physical activity offerings that we provide for our students. We cherish the opportunity to engage in a variety of fitness experiences in the physical education class and encourage students and families to adopt healthy lifestyles, both in and out of school.”

The school plans to use some of the money to help create a spin studio at Linden High School.

“We are constantly striving for new ways to infuse creativity in the Physical Education classroom and to enhance our nutritional programs offered in our schools,” Viana said. “Our goals always are to provide our students with lifelong tools that include promoting healthy food habits and fun ways to incorporate physical activity.”

The 2016-2017 “Eat Right, Move More” grand champion was Pace Charter School in Hamilton, which received a $15,000 grant and a Jets Program in May. Two other Division Champions — Amerigo A. Anastasia School in Long Branch and Public School No. 2 in West New York — received a $5,000 prize and a Jets program in the spring.

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture administers the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs, special milk and after-school snack, Summer Food Service Program and Child and Adult Care Food Program. Almost 700,000 children eat lunch at school every day in the state.