NAUGATUCK — City Hill Middle School students received a lesson in the importance of eating breakfast Monday from a former NFL player and a farmer.
Former NFL tight end Jermaine Wiggins and Melissa Greenbacker of Greenbacker Farm in Durham visited the school to help celebrate the success of its breakfast program this year.
Food Service Director Kate Murphy explained every public school in Naugatuck has a breakfast program. However, she continued, City Hill is the only school to have a program that offers breakfast in the classroom.
The program offering breakfast in the classroom started in January. Since then, the number of students taking advantage of breakfast at City Hill doubled from 80 to 160.
Monday’s celebration was part of Fuel Up to Play 60, a program founded by the National Dairy Council and NFL, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to help students be active for at least 60 minutes a day and eat healthy.
Wiggins, who was a member of the 2001 Super Bowl champion Patriots, told the students that breakfast is extremely important. When he played for the Patriots, he said, the entire team would eat breakfast together.
Wiggins said eating breakfast together every morning was not only important for the players’ health, but helped the morale and comradery of the team.
Along with how vital breakfast is, Greenbacker, whose family owns and operates a dairy farm, told the students whenever they drink or eat dairy products, they are helping to support farmers like her.
In addition to talking to the students about breakfast, Wiggins and Greenbacker also answered questions about life on a farm and playing in the NFL.
Murphy said Fuel Up to Play 60 and the New England Dairy Council paid to bring the guest speakers to City Hill. The program was free for Naugatuck.
In addition to eating breakfast, Wiggins told the students that they could accomplish anything they wanted. He spoke about growing up in a poor section of Boston in a single-parent household. He focused on sports and ended up landing a football scholarship to the University of Georgia. His football career continued for eight years in the NFL.
“Anything is possible if you work hard and put your mind to it,” Wiggins said.