East Orange Schools implement ‘Breakfast After the Bell’

(L to r): East Orange Superintendent Dr. Kevin West, former NY Giant Wide Receiver Amani Toomer, Sojourner Truth Middle School Principal Dr. Monica Burton, East Orange Mayor Lester Taylor III and Vernon, NJ dairy farmer, Graham Ackerly, serve milk to 6th grader Breanne Victor from the school’s new breakfast kiosk.


The East Orange School District kicked off the school year on a healthy note by implementing “Breakfast After the Bell” Tuesday morning at the Hart Complex.

The newly restyled cafeteria features a vibrant color scheme and words to encourage healthy eating and academic success.

“Breakfast After the Bell” is one of the strategies of the National Football League and the American Dairy Association North East’s “Fuel Up to Play 60” program, which was created to increase student access to nutritious foods and increase physical activity.  The goal is to ensure every student starts the day with a nutritious breakfast by serving meals from kiosks as students arrive at school and serving breakfast to students in classrooms.

Vernon, NJ dairy farmer, Graham Ackerly (left) and former NY Giant Wide Receiver Amani Toomer (right) team up to encourage students to eat right and get plenty of exercise.

To highlight the district’s new initiative, Former New York Giants Wide Receiver Amani Toomer served breakfast to students and participated in a ribbon-cutting in the newly restyled cafeteria, funded by a $30,000 grant from the American Dairy Association North East, along with East Orange Mayor Lester E. Taylor III and East Orange Superintendent Kevin West.

The American Dairy Association reports that of all the steps schools can take toward creating healthier, higher-achieving students and a culture of wellness, implementing programs that increase access and encourage consumption of a nutritious breakfast is perhaps the simplest and most cost-effective way to do so. Studies show that children, especially nutritionally at-risk children, who eat breakfast at school, have higher math and verbal fluency scores and perform better on standardized tests.