NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — Some elementary school students got to sit down for a very high-powered lunch.
Admiral (Ret.) James Loy ate lunch alongside students and those serving up healthy options at the Winthrop STEM Elementary Magnet School.
Admiral Loy along with two other retired Coast Guard admirals visited the New London school. They are members of Mission: Readiness, which aims to strengthen national security by ensuring kids stay in school, stay fit, and stay out of trouble.
“The facts are that about 70 percent of the people from the 18-24 age window are not eligible for military service,” said Admiral (Ret.) Loy, the former commandant of the Coast Guard.
Obesity is one of the issues preventing some from signing up.
“For many kids these days the best nutrition they get is at school,” said Admiral (Ret.) Loy.
He gave high marks to the chefs of Brigaid who are providing the nutritional lunches and encouraging healthy eating habits.
“I think there is a ton of sort of symbiosis between what we’re doing here and what their mission is,” said Ryan Kennedy, the Regional Chef for Bridgaid in New London.
“We’ve seen a big increase in the kids’ willingness to explore new foods with these methods in place,” said Principal Michele Han who referred to pictures of the food which are displayed on a large television monitor.
Once the students try the new foods they seem to like them.
“They’re really good,” said Second Grader Hayden Bogue.
“Taste really good,” added Second Grader Gianni Vendetto.
“If I had to scale it from one to ten it’s an eleven,” said Admiral (Ret.) Loy.
“Having this support from them is just amazing,” said Han.
Later in the afternoon, the admirals headed to the Coast Guard Academy to meet with cadets and lead a panel discussion in front of cadets and faculty.
They finished the day by sitting down at a community dinner alongside students, parents, and school leaders.