Celebrating School Breakfast: Fueling Students for Success

Fourth grader Arika Cerda is a true believer in the importance of school breakfasts: “Well, I think they help me achieve my dreams because they help me stay focused, not drowsy. And how do I explain it? They stop me from just sitting there hungry, tired, and everything, to me being energized and ready to go.”

That focus and energy lead to better learning, and as Arika adds, “So what's the point of going to school if you can't learn anything?”

March 4 through 8, we honor the many benefits of this “most important meal of the day” with National School Breakfast Week. Across the country, school districts and nutrition staff have set aside special moments to celebrate the role nutritious school breakfasts play in fueling students for success.

Let’s take a moment to look at some numbers. Students who eat school breakfast achieve 17.5% higher scores on standardized tests and attend 1.5 more days of school per year. Those higher attendance rates lead to a 20% greater likelihood of high school graduation. Improved academics, better attendance, increased graduation rates. That’s what success looks like. That’s why we celebrate school breakfast.


Here’s a look at just a few of the ways No Kid Hungry will be celebrating in communities all across the country this National School Breakfast Week:

Texas State Representative Toni Rose (D-110) will join students for breakfast in her Dallas district, along with well-known Chef Tiffany Derry, showcasing the importance of a delicious and nutritious morning meal. Rep. Rose was instrumental in last year’s legislative win that resulted in free school breakfast for 70,000 more children across the state. In Houston, the No Kid Hungry Texas team will present the Innovation in Breakfast Award to the principal and child nutrition staff at Pine Shadows Elementary School, recognizing the success of the school’s Grab’n Go breakfast program. State Representative Lacey Hull (R-138) will put a resolution before the Texas House celebrating Pine Shadows’ award; later, No Kid Hungry chef champion Leonard Botello IV of Truth BBQ in Houston will provide lunch for the school’s child nutrition staff as a thank you for their hard work.

In California, the State Assembly will officially declare March 4-8 School Breakfast Week with a resolution introduced by Assemblymember Steve Bennett (D-38) acknowledging the importance of school breakfast for the nearly 1 in 5 children in California living in food insecure homes. Since the beginning of this school year, No Kid Hungry California has responded to that need with over $400,000 in grants to support increased participation in school breakfast programs across the state.


In Wisconsin, winners of the statewide School Breakfast Champions Celebration will be announced. The contest celebrates those in the Badger State who have gone above and beyond to ensure that every student has the fuel they need to shine. A coordinated effort by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, School Nutrition Association of Wisconsin, Hunger Task Force and No Kid Hungry Wisconsin, the School Breakfast Champions Celebration recognizes that it takes a village to ensure that kids have the healthy meals they need to start their days off energized and ready to learn. Selected winners and their nominators will be awarded prizes and receive recognition for their contributions to school breakfast success.

And in Sullivan County, Tennessee, Ketron Elementary School will present the Excellence in Breakfast Award to Principal Sherri Devault and Cafeteria Manager Brittany Glover in recognition of over 8 years of successful breakfast service for their school community. Over 75% of the student body enjoys a nutritious breakfast at Ketron, thanks to Brittany and her team’s daily efforts. Sullivan County Schools have seen growth in breakfast participation across the district, thanks in large part to a recent No Kid Hungry grant of $10,000.

School breakfast doesn’t just happen. In schools everywhere, nutrition staff members arrive in the early morning hours and go right to work so that kids can get the nutritious breakfasts they need to start their days energized and ready to learn. These committed teams work diligently and creatively to meet the various needs of the diverse school communities they serve, whether it’s serving scratch cooked traditional breakfasts before the first bell, handing out quick but nutritious meals at a Grab’n Go kiosk as students head to class, or providing Second Chance breakfast after first period when the school day is well underway.

This National School Breakfast Week, we celebrate the importance of school breakfast and the critical role school nutrition professionals play in helping children succeed. Feeding kids today is one of the smartest investments we can make to ensure they’re ready to face the challenges of tomorrow. Arika, that’s a dream come true.