Picture of the Healthy Okaloosa Award Winners

Area Schools Recognized at Healthy Okaloosa Celebration

The Healthy Okaloosa initiative launched in August 2015 and is designed to reach students in K-12 schools. Healthy Okaloosa Schools uses a variety of evidence-based practices to help schools improve the health of their students, families and staff.  Schools are encouraged to implement sustainable policy and environmental strategies that support healthy behaviors in the in the K-12 setting. The Department of Health-Okaloosa Healthy Okaloosa Schools team provides education, training, resources and technical assistance to all of our partners. The following schools were recognized recently for their participation and commitment to promoting policies and practices that allow students, teachers, and staff to learn, work, and play in a healthy school environment.

The Healthy Okaloosa Schools (HOS) – Elementary School Award

Kenwood Elementary School’ s Julie Devore and Bethany Crossley were recognized with the HOS Elementary School Award. Kenwood Elementary School joined the Healthy Okaloosa Schools program in 2015, and continues to promote policies and practices that allow students, teachers, and staff to learn, work, and play in a healthy school environment. This year, Kenwood participated in Every Kid Healthy Week. This is an annual observance that shines a spotlight on the great efforts schools are making to improve the health and wellness of their students and the link between nutrition, physical activity, and learning. Parents also volunteered during recess to encourage their child in positive, active play with their friends, and during lunch to help encourage the children to make healthier lunch choices

The Healthy Okaloosa Schools (HOS) – Middle School Award

Davidson Middle School’s Kim Sears was recognized with the HOS Middle School Award. Davidson Middle School joined the Healthy Okaloosa Schools program this school year. Coach Sears and the healthy school team has worked together to increase physical fitness and health awareness to their students and faculty members. Coach Sears implemented ‘Health Tips from Coach Sears,’ a new segment of the school’s morning show. In addition, Davidson hosted the Panther Run 5K event. A fun, physical fitness event where parents, teachers, students, staff, and faculty members participated. Davidson shares the 5210 health habits message with parents by posting the Healthy Okaloosa Schools newsletters on their school’s website each month. In addition, healthy school team members at Davidson play a key role in the promotion of policies and practices that allow students, teachers, and staff to learn, work, and play in a healthy school environment.

The Healthy Okaloosa Schools (HOS) – High School Award

Crestview High School’s Thomas Harvell and Ernie Martin recognized with the HOS High School award. Crestview High School joined the Healthy Okaloosa Schools program in 2016. This year, Crestview High School conducted a focus group with students and Healthy School Team members for feedback on healthy menu items, resulting in healthier food and drink options for students by implementing the Chef’s Corner which features a chef-inspired menu with a variety of cuisines promoted in an appetizing manner. In addition, Crestview High School received the Healthier US School Challenge: Smarter Lunchrooms bronze level award from the United States Department of Agriculture. This certification is awarded to schools that have enrolled in Team Nutrition and have created healthier school environments through the promotion of smarter lunchrooms, nutrition, and physical activity. Harvell and Martin were both instrumental in completing the application process and promoting their schools' excellent achievements in the areas of nutrition and physical education.

The following schools were certified or re-certified in 2017-2018:

  • Choctawhatchee High School
  • Davidson Middle School
  • Fort Walton Beach High School
  • Bruner Middle School
  • Crestview High School
  • Destin Elementary School
  • Edwins Elementary School
  • Elliott Point Elementary School
  • Florosa Elementary School
  • Kenwood Elementary School
  • Lewis School
  • Longwood Elementary School
  • Niceville High School
  • Plew Elementary School
  • Riverside Elementary School
  • Ruckel Middle School
  • Shalimar Elementary School
  • Shoal River Middle School
  • Walker Elementary School

Outstanding Partners - Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT)

Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) - Middle School Award was awarded to Meigs Middle School’s Deputy TJ Bye. Deputy TJ Bye is the School Resource Officer and SWAT Advisor at Meigs Middle School. He has contributed to the increase of members for the Meigs SWAT club and the involvement of youth in SWAT. Meigs Middle School SWAT is an active club with the most involved youth in Okaloosa County. The increase of members had doubled compared to the number from last school year. Deputy Bye has always been helpful in contributing to the many events that the club participates in. He has helped with recruitment of SWAT members and empowerment for the youth to educate their peers on the dangers of tobacco and Big Tobacco’s marketing tactics. Without his dedication and support for the youth, Meigs Middle School SWAT would not be where it is today.

Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) – High School Award was awarded to Crestview High School’s Mr. Dan Allison. Dan Allison is a Social Studies teacher and the SWAT advisor at Crestview High School. Mr. Allison assisted SWAT students with developing and implementing various tobacco prevention events throughout the school year. He has shown his support by showing up to the events that Crestview High School SWAT participates in. He is not only active in his club’s events but frequently attends community SWAT events and always shows his support. His club has the most consistent youth participation in Okaloosa county. His dedication and commitment to Crestview High’s SWAT club has assisted with his members earning together over 475 hours of community service this year!