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Jefferson Magnet Attracts Corporate Help

Like other third-graders at Jefferson Science Magnet School , David Parra brought home something new Tuesday: a Pepperidge Farm backpack. So did the kindergartners, the first-graders, the fourth-graders and the fifth-graders.

But the second-graders were singled out for special attention in a new relationship between the school and the corporation. "We've been doing a nutrition project," said Shonna Mitchell, a second grade teacher and vice president of the PTO. "Pepperidge Farm is funding it."

Once a week, a Norwalk Hospital nutritionist visits the second-graders and teaches them about the food groups. "It matches in with our curriculum," Mitchell said. "And then Pepperidge Farm also gives healthy snacks, either for kids who don't have snacks or to replace unhealthy snacks."

The relationship escalated Tuesday with a health-themed Halloween activity. Every pupil in the school attended, going from station to station to collect treats: pedometers, jump ropes and backpacks.

That included the second-graders, who are keeping their backpacks at the school to use in their Pepperidge Farm activities.

The children also did physical activities. They used their jump ropes, they played with hula-hoops and they did relay races with rubber ducks. And a Pepperidge Farm employee taught the children how food gets converted to energy. "It's funny because a lot of the kids don't understand," said art teacher John Hungaski. He said she asked the kids why their parents put gas in the car and what is considered exercise. "It was a really neat program, I have to admit," he said.

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