Pine River students take pride in state

LEROY – From Yoplait yogurt to the Detroit Lions, there are many reasons to be proud of the state of Michigan.

To celebrate local businesses and encourage state pride among students and staff, Pine River Schools held “Michigan Pride Day” Friday.

Students from preschool through 12th grade ate Michigan-made foods for breakfast and lunch and wore clothing celebrating Michigan sports teams and businesses.

“Michigan businesses support schools and we need to support them,” said high school teacher Chad Phillips.

The district has held “Michigan Pride Day” for three years. The celebration began as an idea from Phillips as a way to create awareness among students about the resources in the state and promote local businesses.

The school decorated a bulletin board with a map of the state and identified locations of production within the state. Companies such as Carhartt in Dearborn, Pioneer Sugar in Bay City, Spartan Stores in Grand Rapids and Faygo in Detroit were labeled on the map to educate students about the products created in their state.

“Michigan businesses are the lifeblood of our economy. The more products we purchase, the better off we are,”  said high school principal Kim Miller.

The two high school students best displaying their state pride in their clothing each received a bag of Michigan-made groceries, including items from many of the places on the map in the school.

“There is an interconnection between schools and Michigan businesses,” Miller said. “Creating that awareness among students is important.”

LeRoy Elementary school served yogurt from Yoplait in Reed City, blueberry muffins with Michigan berries, Aunt Millie’s English muffins from Coldwater, Kellogg’s brand cereal from Battle Creek and Prairie Farms milk bottled in Battle Creek.

For lunch, the school served French toast with pure Michigan maple syrup, apple sauce from Cherry Central in Traverse City and frozen fruit blend drink from Shelby.

“It makes (students) aware of companies and things made in Michigan,” said LES cook Sheila Werner. “They can have pride to know that we produce that many items in our state.”

Elementary students also participated in classroom activities to learn about Michigan-made products, including identifying locations of production on a map of the state.

Vivan Maddox and her sister Shelby, in kindergarten and second grade, enjoyed blueberry muffins and Trix yogurt for breakfast at the school.

Though April 13, the date the school chose for the state celebration, holds no significance, staff members agree that dedicating a day to encourage student pride in their state will have lasting benefits.

“It’s a day of education, and our students are future consumers,” Miller said. “We hope this encourages them to support Michigan businesses now and in the future.”