Roseburg Junior Academy Gets Blue Zone Approval

March 18, 2019 | Education | Andrea Jackson

On Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019, at 2:45 p.m., students at Roseburg Junior Academy (RJA) were joined by parents, church members and community members for an amazing blue ribbon-cutting and ceremony as the school celebrated its Blue Zone Approval. Roseburg Junior Academy is the fourth school in Douglas County, Ore., to receive its Blue Zone approval and is the first Christian school to do so. “This is very exciting for our school and our students,” says Jeff Jackson, RJA principal and upper-grades teacher. “Our teachers and students have been involved in a variety of different projects including community service opportunities and new ways to eat healthy.”

Becoming Blue Zone-approved was not something that just happened overnight. Teachers and students worked together to find different ways to create a healthy school community. Through a grant from Umpqua Community Veg Education Group (UC-VEG), grades four through eight were given three garden boxes, which they helped assemble and plant with produce. Even in January, they are eating radishes they planted, watered, weeded and watched grow. The kindergarten class has learned about different vegetables and has even started tracking how much water they each drink during the day. Grades one through three has worked on incorporating more movement into the school day and on gaining healthy exercise habits. Almost every day, the first- through third-graders can be seen running laps around the school track.

RJA had a fall walk-to-school day and had such positive feedback from parents and students they are planning another one for this spring. Grades four through eight started an action committee and have already participated in going door to door in the community to try to raise support for a much-needed overhaul of the school track. They also helped clean a community park.

All hot lunches served at RJA now include a variety of fruits and vegetables. There is always either a salad bar or fruit bar. The first time the salad bar option was served, a student commented they had never had a salad before, but it tasted really good.

Going through the process of becoming Blue Zone-approved has helped strengthen the resolve of RJA students and teachers to eat healthfully, drink lots of water, incorporate movement into every day, be surrounded by a positive school community and derive purpose from helping others.