Cary, NC – Nine Wake County schools were recently recognized for their work promoting healthy lifestyles in their daily curriculum. Wake County Public Schools (WCPSS) Interim Superintendent Stephen Gainey joined Advocates for Health in Action (AHA) on April 12, to announce the 2013 Brains and Bodies Award recipients for Wake County elementary schools which strive to improve the health of students and staff.
4 of 9 Awards in Western Wake
Four of the nine schools awarded are in Western Wake County. Davis Drive Elementary and Highcroft Drive Elementary in Cary, and Laurel Park Elementary in Apex all won the Silver Award designation. Farmington Woods Elementary in Cary won a Bronze Award.
“We are so impressed with the work of all these winning schools to prioritize wellness,” said Sheree Vodicka, director of AHA and WakeMed Community Outreach. “Students who are physically active and eating nutritious foods perform better academically and will grow into healthy teens and adults.”
43% of Wake County Kids Are Obese
“More than 43 percent of kids aged 5 to 11 in Wake County are overweight or obese,” Vodicka continued. “Our Brains and Bodies award winners are making a real difference in their schools by enforcing the Wake County Public Schools Wellness Policy and by offering free walking and/or running clubs, opting for school fundraisers that focus on fitness rather than unhealthy foods, highlighting healthy choices and shifting the way schools celebrate birthdays.”
“I congratulate the winning schools and applaud their outstanding efforts to emphasize healthy habits and to create a healthier school environment for students and staff alike,” said Interim Superintendent Gainey.
Other winning schools include Underwood Elementary School in Raleigh, which won the Gold Award designation for its outstanding efforts related to school wellness, for the third year in a row, along with Silver Award winners Brier Creek Elementary, Hunter Elementary, and Joyner Elementary. Oak Grove Elementary earned a Bronze Award.
Schools Incorporate Wellness
Each of the award winners earned a “Healthy Students Grow Here” banner to hang at their school and a framed certificate. AHA created the award program three years ago to celebrate and recognize schools making an effort to incorporate wellness into the culture of the school day. The application process is also intended to be educational, providing schools with information and a wide array of resources and best practices to model.
Making a Difference at Little or No Expense
“We hope that all schools across Wake County will be inspired by what these award-winning schools are doing, and often at little or no expense, so that they can make a difference in their schools and win next year’s awards,” Vodicka said. School wellness resources are online at as a reference for schools to adapt ideas and programs as they may be appropriate for their school environment.
Advocates for Health in Action (AHA) fosters and supports community efforts to make healthy eating and physical activity the way of life in Wake County. The AHA collaborative of more than 60 diverse organizations and community members works to achieve this mission by shaping policies and environments that ensure affordable access to healthful foods and physical activity. For more information, visit AHA online at
Photo above: Four schools in Western Wake County won the Advocates in Action Brains and Bodies Award for the 2012-2013 school year, including Davis Drive Elementary, Highcroft Drive Elementary and Laurel Park Elementary, which are Silver award winners, and Farmington Woods Elementary, which won the Bronze Award.