Thompson Middle School receives visit from New England Patriots player Derek Rivers and local dairy farmer Kies Orr after winning Connecticut Fuel Up to Play 60 contest

Author: Rene Thibault
Derek Rivers with students

Thompson, CT – The students at Thompson Middle School were joined for lunch today by special guests Derek Rivers of the New England Patriots, and Thompson’s very own dairy farmer Kies Orr of Fort Hill Farms. Why? Students Haylie Baillargeon and Deidra Hanshaw, both 7th graders, applied to be student ambassadors in their school’s Fuel Up to Play 60 program. This qualified the school to be entered into a contest for Connecticut Fuel Up to Play 60 schools. The grand prize was a visit from an NFL player.

What does it mean to be a Fuel Up to Play 60 student ambassador? These are student leaders who are highly engaged in enhancing the wellness environments at their school through nutrition and physical activity. As a result of the school’s participation in the program this past year, Thompson received grants which they’ve used to increase access to school breakfast, offer smoothies as a part of school meals, and start a walking club.

The funding for this program is provided by the dairy farm families of Connecticut through a partnership between the Connecticut Milk Promotion Board and New England Dairy & Food Council.

When asked about what it was like to visit with Thompson and meet the students, Derek Rivers, defensive end for the New England Patriots, said “Thompson is doing an incredible job supporting physical activity and offering nutritious, accessible meals to students at both breakfast and lunch. It’s powerful to see how God has placed health and wellness on these student’s hearts, how involved the students want to be in these decisions, and to learn how they’ve worked with their peers to make health and wellness a priority at their school.”

Lisa Durand, Thompson Public School’s Food Service Director, described the changes going on at the Middle School as being significant. She said the breakfast participation there has grown by fifty percent.

“The grant funding we received from Fuel Up to Play 60 assisted us in implementing a Breakfast in the Classroom program that offers fresh-baked muffins, egg sandwiches, whole grain breakfast pizza, and more, plus juice and milk. We were also able to purchase some fun equipment for the Physical Education class and a commercial blender to offer smoothies at lunch that students really seem to enjoy!” Lisa explained. “Thank you to New England Dairy & Food Council and the dairy farm families of Connecticut and New England.”

Christopher Scott, Thompson Middle School’s Principal, also acknowledged how partnering with Fuel Up to Play 60 has benefited the school. He explained that Fuel Up to Play 60 funding was used to purchase pedometers to start a walking club, and to get a refrigerated blending unit for smoothies.

“As a school, we were able to increase the physical activity of our students and encourage them to make healthy choices. We had many students walk over 100 miles during the course of the school year. Our goal next year is to continue our walking club and have at least one-third of our students participate.” Scott said.

The Fuel Up to Play 60 program is the nation’s leading in-school physical activity and nutrition program. Funding for this program is provided by New England Dairy & Food Council and the dairy farm families of New England. For more information about Fuel Up to Play 60 in New England, follow New England Dairy & Food Council on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and visit

About New England Dairy & Food Council

New England Dairy & Food Council (NEDFC) is a non-profit nutrition education organization staffed by registered dietitians. NEDFC is a state and regional affiliate of the National Dairy Council® (NDC).  Our goal is to ensure that health professionals, scientists, media and educators have a credible body of nutrition information upon which to base health recommendations.

About the Dairy Farm Families of Connecticut

The dairy farm families of Connecticut support the health and wellness of kids in local schools, and the Fuel Up To Play 60 program is a major initiative to achieve that goal. Connecticut’s dairy farms are a vital part of the local economy, and they play a key role in preserving the beauty of the green fields and open spaces that make this region special to residents and visitors alike. Funding for this program is provided by those dairy farm families through a partnership between the Connecticut Milk Promotion Board chaired by Commissioner of Agriculture Steven Reviczky, and the New England Dairy & Food Council.

About Fuel Up to Play 60

Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by National Dairy Council (NDC) and National Football League (NFL), with additional partnership support from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The program encourages youth to consume nutrient-rich foods (low-fat and fat-free dairy, fruits, vegetables and whole grains) and achieve at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.

Fuel Up to Play 60 is designed to engage and empower youth to take action for their own health by implementing long-term, positive changes for themselves and their schools. Customizable and non-prescriptive program components are grounded in research with youth, including tools and resources, in-school promotional materials, a website and student challenges. Fuel Up to Play 60 is further supported by several health and nutrition organizations: Action for Healthy Kids, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, National Hispanic Medical Association, National Medical Association and School Nutrition Association. Visit to learn more.

About NFL PLAY 60

Designed to help tackle childhood obesity, NFL PLAY 60 brings together the NFL’s long-standing commitment to health and fitness with partner organizations like the National Dairy Council. NFLPLAY 60 is also implemented locally, as part of the NFL’s in-school, after-school and team-based programs. For more information, visit © 2018 NFL Properties LLC. All NFL-related trademarks are trademarks of the National Football League.

About the NFL Players Association

The National Football League Players Association is the union for professional football players in the National Football League. Established in 1956, the NFLPA has a long history of assuring proper recognition and representation of players’ interests. The NFLPA has shown that it will do whatever is necessary to assure that the rights of players are protected—including ceasing to be a union, if necessary, as it did in 1989. In 1993, the NFLPA again was officially recognized as the union representing the players, and negotiated a landmark Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL. The current CBA will govern the sport through 2020. Learn more at

© 2018 National Football League Players Incorporated


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