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St. Joseph's School earns national recognition

PIERRE - St. Joseph's Indian School in Chamberlain was honored today by the South Dakota Department of Education for winning the U.S. Department of Agriculture's HealthierUS School Challenge Silver Award.

Officials presented school leaders with a banner and plaque recognizing the school for its efforts to create a healthier school environment through good nutrition and physical activity.

"The HUSSC application process is very comprehensive and requires schools to adhere to certain standards of excellence," said Mary Kirk, of the South Dakota Department of Education's Child and Adult Nutrition Services. "St. Joseph's staff works very hard to provide healthy and appetizing meals and increase physical activity of students. We are thrilled with this recognition of their accomplishments."

St. Joseph's is only the second Native American school in the nation to win the HealthierUS School Challenge designation, and is the first to do so under new, more stringent USDA guidelines.

The Healthier US School Challenge is a voluntary initiative established in 2004 to recognize schools participating in the National School Lunch Program that have created healthier school environments by promoting proper nutrition and encouraging physical activity. Award-winning schools must meet the following minimum criteria:

* Be enrolled as a Team Nutrition School

* Offer reimbursable meals that demonstrate healthy menu planning

* Provide nutrition education to students

* Provide students with the opportunity for physical activity

* Adhere to guidelines established by USDA's Food and Nutrition Service for foods served/sold in schools outside the National School Lunch Program