Mitchell fourth grade students  in Amanda McGonigle's class enjoy being active.

Mitchell fourth grade students in Amanda McGonigle’s class enjoy being active.


AMES–To Mitchell Elementary School student Cara Mosher, the heart is more than a muscle that keeps the body’s blood supply in motion.

“The heart symbolizes health and inspiration,” the fourth grade student said.

Cara put her inspiration to work to make a poster that won first place in Iowa Governor Terry Branstad’s Governor’s Youth Action Award.

This spring, the Governor and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, the Governor’s Council on Child Health and Wellness and their partners created the Governor’s Youth Action Award to honor efforts of Iowa students in kindergarten through 12th grade who submitted posters, essays and/or videos highlighting healthy behaviors or sharing ideas to engage others.

Cara’s teacher Amanda McGonigle said when she learned about the opportunity to participate, she saw it as a way to give her students a “real world application” of fourth grade science curriculum by teaching others ways to be healthy.

“I learned how powerful being the teacher is for students’ learning,” McGonigle said.”I also learned how much students care about being healthy.”

McGonigle said she was surprised by all the knowledge students already had.

Cara described her poster, which is not available since it will be on display, as a depiction of “Iowa in the middle of a heart made of fruits and vegetables.”

“It’s surrounded by sports balls, and ‘Healthy is Wealthy’ in 3-D letters,” she said.

McGonigle’s students also produced a video that placed in the top three among elementary schools.

She credits Mary Greeley Medical Center’s Mileage Club for keeping students motivated to stay active and make healthy food choices.

“Our class has 100 percent participation in Mileage Club,” she said. “This year, Mileage Club added a token for keeping a log of the fruits and vegetables students eat.”

The Iowa Action for Healthy Kids Coalition assisted with the selection of winners for each genre. All participants will receive a participation ribbon and award winners will receive recognition from Governor Branstad during the Iowa State Fair at an official ceremony Aug. 15.