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AHA improves the health and well-being of Wake County residents by facilitating and supporting community initiatives.

Congratulations to 2015 Healthy Schools Award Winners!

2015 Award WinnersCongratulations to 14 schools in Wake County–winners of AHA’s 2015 Brains and Bodies Awards and Wellness Stars! Seven schools earned the Brains and Bodies Award, and nine earned the Wellness Star, with two schools winning both awards. We honor each of these schools going above and beyond, to support healthy environments and behaviors at school for students and staff.

Wake County Public Schools (WCPSS) School Board Chair Christine Kushner and Supt. James Merrill joined AHA Director Sara Merz to present the awards on April 16, 2015, and celebrated the winning schools’ accomplishments.  The AHA Brains and Bodies Award and the Wellness Star are the only awards in Wake County that recognize healthy schools.

Brains and Bodies Award Winners


  • Brentwood Elementary in Raleigh
  • Davis Drive Elementary in Cary
  • Penny Rd. Elementary in Cary


  • Brier Creek Elementary in Raleigh
  • Underwood Elementary in Raleigh


  • Farmington Woods Elementary in Cary

Honorable Mention

  • Centennial Campus Middle School in Raleigh
Energizer 1

Thanks to Penny Rd. Elementary PE Teacher Christine Martin for leading an Energizer. Energizers, available for free to teachers across the county, allow teachers to include physical activity breaks during the school day. And Energizers always bring a smile to your face!

Wellness Star Winners

Wellness Star awards specifically recognize active transportation—walking and biking to (or at) school.

  • Davis Drive Elementary
  • Farmington Woods Elementary
  • Highcroft Drive Elementary
  • Hunter Elementary
  • Martin Middle School
  • Olive Chapel Elementary
  • Rolesville Elementary
  • Swift Creek Elementary
  • The Exploris School

“Brains and Bodies Award winners use evidence-based practices and policies to improve health,” said Merz.  “Physically active students who eat healthy foods perform better academically and have fewer disciplinary issues, plus they are forming healthy habits early in life.”

“More than 43 percent of kids aged 5 to 11 in Wake County are overweight, and we want all kids to feel well and be healthy ,” Merz continued. “Our Brains and Bodies Award winners are making a real difference for the young residents of Wake County by changing practices and policies.”

AHA created the Brains and Bodies Award program five years ago to celebrate and recognize schools that are creating a sustainable culture of school wellness. The application process is also intended to be educational, providing schools with information and a wide array of resources and best practices to model.  AHA’s award is based on three modules of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation “Healthy Schools Program” assessment, which uses nationally recognized, evidence-based criteria.

AHA’s Wellness Star, introduced last year, highlights active transportation to school because children need 60 minutes a day of physical activity. Students walking or biking to school are benefiting from regular exercise and arriving at school alert and ready to learn.

“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,” Merrill said.

Kushner agreed. “It’s wonderful to be able to recognize schools across our system that are making these strides. Having been part of last year’s award celebration as well, I’m also excited to celebrate new winners. I hope that schools across the county will be inspired,” Kushner said.


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