Standish-Sterling Middle School student headed to Washington D.C.
STANDISH — Nolan Salgat is in very special company.
Salgat, 12, was selected as one of only 34 middle schools students nationwide to become a state representative for the National Dairy Council and NFL’s Fuel Up To Play 60, a program that teaches youth the importance of eating healthy and getting a proper amount of daily exercise.
Salgat, who will enter the seventh grade this fall, will visit Washington D.C. July 14-16 to meet with other state representatives, ambassadors and players from the NFL. He said the purpose of the event is to learn about healthy habits that he will bring back and share with his fellow classmates.
“When school starts back up this fall, I am going to try and get the dairy council to bring in a retired NFL player and I will have to host an assembly,” he said. “When I go to (Washington D.C.) I will meet with other ambassadors and learn how to get everyone at my school more involved.”
To be selected as an representative, Salgat said he had to submit an essay explaining how he would improve his schools daily eating habits.
“I had to explain who my favorite football player was and how they influenced me,” he said. “I also had to give my ideas on how to make my school better and more healthy.”
Students can register for Fuel Up To Play 60 through their schools and track their progress weekly at www.fueluptoplay60.com.
Salgat’s mother, Jessica Bartlett, said her son was on the computer almost every day tracking his progress.
“I did not know a whole lot about the program,” she said. “But he was excited and I thought, ‘OK.’”
Bartlett said the program has had an impact on Salgat’s daily routine.
“I have noticed him doing a number of different things,” she said. “He has been running a lot more and has been trying to lift weights.”
Salgat said he has become more active since being introduced to the program.
“I never played football before,” he said. “I signed up for football, soccer, I played baseball this spring. I have been playing a lot of different sports.”
Salgat said he tracked his progress at least once every week. He added that he followed the program, tracking all of his progress.
“I had to do nearly two hours of activities every day,” he said, adding that he completed every Fuel Up to Play 60 challenge.
Jennifer O’Dell, health and physical education teacher at Standish-Sterling Middle School, said she learned about Fuel Up To Play 60 during a health and nutrition conference.
“I thought that it looked like something fun the students could do,” she said.
O’Dell said the program was started at the middle school during the fall, adding that there were a handful of students who really enjoyed participating.
“Looking at the website, I saw that 147 students at Standish-Sterling Middle School had logged onto the site at least one time,” she said. “There is a group of about 19 (students) that took it really seriously.”
Salgat said during 2010-11 school year he met with O’Dell and other students at the middle school to discuss ways to help improve the health of students in the school.
O’Dell said that a number of schools in Michigan receive prizes and rewards for their contributions.
“Some schools receive things like, MP3 players, sports equipment, things that help students get active,” she said.
As the only student selected in Michigan, Salgat said he thought it was, “crazy” when he found out he was selected.
“I remember sitting in class when teacher (O’Dell) came in and asked if she could speak with me,” he said. “I came out and she gave me a packet with information, a shirt and a hat. It was great.”
This is not the first trip that Salgat has take out of state this year. He also recently returned from New York in May, where he went as a member of the National Junior Honor Society.
“We go to a different place every year,” he said. “Next year we will be in Chicago. It’s a way to reward (students) for the work that we do.”
Bartlett said her son has always had an outgoing personality.
“When he was younger, we would sometimes go out to (a Japanese steakhouse) and sit with other families,” she said. “Nolan would be across the table from them and would strike up a conversation. He would talk so much that we had to move him,” she said, laughing.