Elementary School’s Annual Play Promotes Healthy Eating with “The Snack Wizard”

June 26, 2012

by Alyse Festenstein, HSC's Go for the Gold intern

Thomas Hoyne Elementary School parents, teachers, and students filled the school gymnasium recently for the all-school performance of “The Snack Wizard.” Directed by Physical Education Teacher Paulette Franklin, students participated in a creative take-off of The Wizard of Oz — only this time Dorothy found herself caught in “The Land of Candy.” I was lucky enough to join a couple of other Healthy Schools Campaign interns to enjoy the performance and celebrate the success of the students and inspiring school leaders behind the production.

“The Snack Wizard” story follows Dorothy and her friends as they set out on a quest to find the perfect, healthy snack and to defeat Bad Witch Calorie for good. As they travel along the Chocolate Road, they meet tempting, unhealthy snacks like the flaming hots and jelly beans, who try to lure them away from their goal. Along with showcasing their knowledge of healthy food choices, the K-8 students impressed the audience with their ability to move their feet and exercise. Throughout the show, they danced, flipped, and cheered to promote their message of health and wellness. Check a snippet of the play below!

Principal Yvonne Armour-Calhoun introduced the play as an effort inspired by the First Lady’s Let’s Move program and highlighted the school’s recent accomplishments around healthy eating and nutrition education. Thomas Hoyne has a new, full salad bar in the cafeteria, which Calhoun said both students and staff enjoy on a daily basis. Franklin echoed the importance of the related initiatives in schools and said these are especially important because many students come to school without the knowledge needed to make healthy eating choices. Her motivation for directing the play stemmed from worries about her students’ futures and the prevalence of childhood obesity and chronic disease.

“I just got tired of seeing kids with those hot chips every single day,” she said. “[Nutrition education] is important because a lot of kids don’t understand what is going into their bodies. That’s my biggest concern. They could get heart disease before they get to have a real full life.”

Thomas Hoyne staff such as sixth-grade teacher Tracy Guzman strongly supported the performance and school health and wellness efforts. She has seen the benefits of healthy eating and physical education in her classroom. Guzman shared the vision of efforts connecting health and learning (such as HSC’s Health in Mind) and said “good nutrition primarily translates into the classroom because it helps students focus better. It really helps them have a clear mind.” She also mentioned that she tries to model healthy behavior for her students.  

Congratulations to Thomas Hoyne Elementary School and everyone involved in “The Snack Wizard” for creating an engaging, educational performance and implementing programs to make these choices more widely available students!