Sarah Chaplin, a health teacher at Thurgood Marshall Middle School in Prince George’s County, successfully launched a campaign to remove sugary drinks from her school. She has taught her students about healthy meal plans and has incorporated yoga into her lessons.
And now she has been selected by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, which was founded by American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation, to serve as a healthy schools program ambassador. As an ambassador, Chaplin, along with a handful of other representatives from 18,000 schools that participate in the program, will be a national spokesperson for the alliance’s Healthy Schools Program.
“I am excited to be acknowledged nationally for my contribution in implementing the district’s school wellness policy,” Chaplin said.
Prince George’s County Schools Chief Executive Officer Kevin Maxwell offered Chaplin congratulations.
“Her efforts and commitment to ensure that our students are making healthier lifestyle choices early on helps them to continue this habit into adulthood,” Maxwell said in a statement.
Chaplin said her school slowly replaced sugary drinks with water and milk. Now, students have the option to drink water, milk or a more nutritious juice option.
“They said they actually felt better,” Chaplin said after the students began drinking more water. “They weren’t getting as tired in class, not having as many headaches.”
Chaplin, who came to the United States from England as part of the Visiting International Faculty of Teachers program in 2004, has been teaching science and health in Prince George’s since 2007. She taught at Woodbridge Middle School in Price William County during her time with the program.
Chaplin said some students were resistant to the idea of yoga. But soon, she said, some of those same students were asking that they start class with some yoga.
“It think it allowed them to clear some of the troubles in their mind,” she said. “It was very powerful. It’s exciting when a child comes to you and says ‘Can we do this?’ If it works and it helps them learn, I’m all for it.”