Celebrating National School Lunch Week at Dream Academy

National School Lunch Week is an annual observance that promotes the importance of a healthy school lunch in a child’s life and the impact it has both in and out of the classroom. Every year, National School Lunch Week (NSLW) has a theme that school nutrition professionals can center their celebrations around; this year’s theme is “Peace, Love, and School Lunch”. School lunch programs across the nation dusted off their peace signs and brought out their flower power to celebrate.

The Rise and Shine Illinois team had the opportunity to visit Elgin Area School District U-46’s Dream Academy and see how they observed NSLW. As soon as we stepped into the lunchroom, we could see the amount of love and energy Dream’s nutrition team put into their celebration, and make it a week that students truly enjoyed and felt comfortable participating in. Dream Academy fit the “Peace and Love” aesthetic perfectly. They disguised the serving line as a “groovy” van, made sure the disco ball never stopped turning, and kept their “60’s jams” playlist on shuffle. It was a real blast!

Although the decor was amazing, student participation was even better. Everyone grabbed a meal on their way into the lunchroom, making sure to check under their trays to see of they could find a peace sign as part of a raffle to win a smart snack of their choice. If they didn’t win the lunch tray raffle, there were still more opportunities for them to win a prize. Dream’s innovative Nutrition team created a game where students could role two huge cubes and answer a question about school nutrition or National School Lunch Week for a chance to win a smart snack of their choice or a highly coveted pizza party to share with their friends. Dream Academy put their best foot forward and made NSLW an experience for their school community.

One of the main goals of National School lunch week is increasing student participation and spreading the message that schools are serving healthy, delicious meals, and eating these meals is nothing to be ashamed of. U-46’s Dream Academy accomplished this goal with flying colors. When it came to getting their students engaged with school lunch and nutrition, they showed up and showed out!

If you did not get a chance to celebrate National School Lunch Week in October, you can shift your celebration to a different week if that’s more convenient! The size and time of the year of the celebration does not take away from the goal or meaning of NSLW!