Rusty Rae/News-Register ##
Chief Kevin Martinez is all smiles as he takes a breakfast order from a  student. Police visit the school frequently so students know them as friendly faces.
Rusty Rae/News-Register ## Chief Kevin Martinez is all smiles as he takes a breakfast order from a student. Police visit the school frequently so students know them as friendly faces.
Rusty Rae/News-Register ##
Carlton police officer Jake Blair pours warm chocolate milk for children during breakfast at Yamhill-Carlton Elementary School last week. Later, Blair played “The Star Spangled Banner” on his electric guitar, a la Jimi Hendrix.
Rusty Rae/News-Register ## Carlton police officer Jake Blair pours warm chocolate milk for children during breakfast at Yamhill-Carlton Elementary School last week. Later, Blair played “The Star Spangled Banner” on his electric guitar, a la Jimi Hendrix.
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To protect and to serve breakfast

 

As soon as Yamhill-Carlton Elementary School opened its front doors last Tuesday, students rushed in and lined up for breakfast.

Eighty to 85 children usually eat the morning meal at the 360-student school. On this day, there were at least twice that many, maybe three times.

“We ran out and had to restock,” said lead cook Becky Stapleton, lifting another case of cereal onto the serving counter.

Stapleton was happy. She wants students to eat a healthy breakfast. For some, she said, eating at school is the best way to find nourishment.

The students were drawn not just by cereal, orange slices and Tiger Bars — the ham, egg and cheese entree they had named themselves. They also were attracted by two special aspects of the breakfast: the debut of a hot beverage, and the people serving that day.

Carlton Police Chief Kevin Martinez worked the lunch line, filling trays with the foods children chose. Officer Jake Blair poured the beverage, called Y-C Not-So-Hot, a warm chocolate milk drink patterned after one that’s popular at a coffee shop chain.

The policemen, along with Officer Tim Jordan, are familiar to the students of Y-C Elementary. They often drop by to visit during lunch time, and sometimes join children for pickup basketball games at recess.

“It’s great for the kids,” Stapleton said, handing out aprons to cover the officers’ uniforms.

In addition to the police, the breakfast crowd was joined by Crista Hawkins, RDN, LD, of the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council, and Gia Saporito, nutrition services director for the Yamhill-Carlton School District.

Saporito, who joined the district this year, is implementing some changes designed to add more fresh food items made on site.

After students finished their breakfasts and stacked their trays, they joined classmates sitting on the gym floor.

Every morning, Y-C students take a moment to hear announcements and recite the Pledge of Allegiance with Principal Chad Tollefson.

Last Tuesday morning was a little different. Instead of saying the Pledge, they saluted the flag while Blair, who’s also a professional musician, played a bluesy version of “The Star Spangled Banner” on his electric guitar.

Afterward, Blair announced he’ll be giving free guitar lessons to Y-C students on Tuesdays in December. Youngsters left the gym smiling about that, grinning just as much as they did about the warm chocolate milk.

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