Fort Dodge Community School District

Making a Change - from The Messenger

November 17, 2021

A few weeks ago, fourth grader Gretta Pratt wrote a letter to her Duncombe Elementary School Principal Ryan Flaherty asking if she and the rest of Sarah Amhof's fourth graders could once again have a nutrition class. Until now, the nutrition classes ended after third grade.

Prescott speaking to studentsIn Pratt's letter to Flaherty she wrote, "We all miss nutrition and being able to have a snack. We really like it and we don't have any classes or subjects like nutrition."

Flaherty contacted the Webster County Health Department. Staff members there were impressed by Pratt's advocacy skills so they visited Amhof's class Tuesday morning.

Health Department Director Kari Prescott wrote a letter and presented it to Pratt and the rest of the class thanking them for bringing their concern to their teacher and following the correct steps to respectfully request a change.

"I was very impressed that this 9-year-old took the initiative to ask respectfully for something that the class wanted. In order to foster appropriate advocacy in our community, we want to make sure that we are working to solve problems that are brought to our attention," said Prescott.

Before introducing Prescott to the class Tuesday morning, Flaherty talked about how sometimes it's not what you do, but how you do it that is important. He told the students that advocating in the right and respectful way can be powerful to accomplishing change.

All fourth grade classrooms at Duncombe and Butler elementary schools will now receive nutrition lessons with Erica Loerts who works for the Health Department beginning in January. Loerts has taught nutrition to these students before when they were younger.

Pratt with Prescott and Loerts"I wrote the letter because I like our nutrition lessons and looked forward to them. They were fun and we got to try new things. Plus Ms. Erica is really nice," said Pratt.

Prescott said she and the rest of the Health Department are happy this was a request they could grant.

"All it takes is a few extra hours and if that makes a change in the fourth graders' nutritional habits, it's absolutely worth it," she said.

Pratt was excited that her letter made a difference for her and her classmates.

She said, "I'm excited. I feel like I can change things in the world. Even though I'm young, I can still do things that matter."

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