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Nutrition lesson based on song, dance

St. Mary’s School hosts program

Nicholas Borho and Skylar Barber dance during a performance by Jay Mankita. Mankita taught proper nutrition to St. Mary’s School students in Ticonderoga by presenting a concert.

Nicholas Borho and Skylar Barber dance during a performance by Jay Mankita. Mankita taught proper nutrition to St. Mary’s School students in Ticonderoga by presenting a concert.

— Aidan Ross never knew good nutrition could be so much fun.

“I liked it,” the first grade student said following a presentation by Jay Mankita at St. Mary’s School in Ticonderoga recently. “We have to eat like a rainbow.”

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Jay Mankita recently taught proper nutrition to St. Mary’s School students in Ticonderoga by presenting a concert.

That’s right, we should all “eat like a rainbow.” That phase is the title of an album by Mankita that teaches lessons about proper nutrition. With songs like “Junk Food Man” and “Try New Foods,” the album is a Parents Choice Approved Award Winner.

Mankita presented his program to St. Mary’s students, asking them to join in the songs and dance about the gym. It was fun, but the point was serious — good nutrition leads to good health.

“This is part of our wellness curriculum,” Ellie Berube, St. Mary’s physical education teacher, explained. “We want our children to understand the importance of eating a healthy diet. Healthy food can still be good.”

And fun, if you believe Mankita.

Mankita is a Massachusetts-based songwriter, guitarist and recording artist. He writes songs for children about animals, ecology and healthy food and performs at schools, libraries, fairs and festivals.

He also performs for adults, singing about life, love, baseball, dogs and social justice. He has performed with well-known artists such as Pete Seeger, David Bromberg, Leon Russell, Tom Paxton, Paul Winter and others.

St. Mary’s students were particularly impress by Mankita’s van, which is fueled by recycled vegetable oil.

“It smells like French fries when I drive,” he told students. “That’s really cool.”

The St. Mary’s School performance was made possible by a grant from Fidelis Care to the Diocese of Ogdensburg.

Fidelis Care is a non-profit, faith-based health plan that provides coverage through New York State’s Child Health Plus, Family Health Plus and Medicaid programs. It also offers a Medicare Advantage program, featuring no monthly premium and the freedom to choose doctors and hospitals. The firm does not sell commercial coverage, but reaches out solely to the poor and medically under-served.

Fidelis has given the Catholic schools of the Diocese of Ogdensburg a $32,000 grant to purchase materials and implement wellness programs.

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