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High School Students Go Head-to-Head in Breakfast Challenge

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day to set our students up for success, and it also brings out the competitive spirit in them.

Dining Services re-introduced the Breakfast Challenge, a program funded by No Hungry Kid to help improve and promote the free breakfasts offered at secondary high school campuses, to CPS high schools in January. 

While the first edition was cut short due to the pandemic, the Breakfast Challenge is now stronger than ever with a refocused approach. Student bodies are working together to generate the largest monthly increase in breakfast participation with cash prizes on the line.

“There is a lot of stigma still around school meals and breakfast,” Student Dining Services Director Jessica Shelley said. “We really want to erase that and make sure it's for everybody.”

Shelley emphasizes convenience and healthy offerings in their breakfast selection. Whole grain, protein and fruit options, along with skim milk, are available at no cost each day. 

This isn’t just for kids with limited time or access to food in the morning; Dining Services wants all students to take advantage of that free meal before a full day of learning.

“It's really hard to listen to your algebra teacher when all you hear is your grumbling stomach,” Shelley said. “The goal is once they've had breakfast, they realize it's delicious, easy to get and it's portable.”

To further stress the importance of breakfast and drive consistent participation, students are rewarded with grant funding when they outperform their peers throughout the district. The winning school each month wins $3,000, while second place earns $2,000 and third receives $1,000. 

What’s done with that money, however, is entirely up to the winning students. It could be for something simple like spirit wear or eventful like an epic class field trip. Last year, Oyler School students even set money aside to construct a skating rink!

The program’s impact is most present in K-12 school campuses, where younger students are watching older ones model healthy breakfast habits. 

“It’s important for everyone to come together to have a morning meal,” Shelley said.

Stay posted on the Breakfast Challenge and weekly standings updates at