Middle school student is Fuel Up ambassador

MILFORD – When Abby Forrence was in fourth grade a teacher showed her class an ad on the back of a milk carton and told them it could change their school.

The ad was for Fuel Up to Play 60, a national program designed to encourage young people to lead healthier lives by eating nutri­tious foods and getting at least 60 minutes of activity a day.

Abby took the message to heart, and this school year the soon-to-be 13-year-old Milford Middle School eighth grader will be one of five national ambassadors for the program, started by the Na­tional Dairy Council and the Na­tional Football League.

Since that day in fourth grade, she has initiated a number of school programs to promote health and fitness, including "Fruit Fridays," and a field day when she taught her classmates how to play Capture the Flag.

In sixth grade she was elect­ed state ambassador and raised money for a rock wall at Milford Middle School.

In the summer between sixth and seventh grades she attended a national Fuel Up to Play 60 sum­mit in Texas, and this summer she went to Chicago to the Bears’ training facility with two other Milford students, Sidney Kowal­ski and Jade Gregg.

The Chicago summit "taught us what to do to expand the program and make a difference in stopping childhood obesity," Abby said during an interview in her fam­ily’s kitchen. "This year we plan to make it the best year ever," though seventh grade was great.

Pat Patriot, the New England Patriots’ mascot, was a surprise guest at a school pep rally in Octo­ber, and later that year they went to the Patriots’ training facility and "got to train like the pros," she said, and meet some Pats’ alumni.

As part of the program the school also received a Fuel Up to Play 60 grant to buy a salad bar extension in the cafeteria and sta­bility balls for physical education classes.

"In fourth grade I began to re­alize how important (health and fitness) was, and that I could make a difference," she said.

It has also made a difference in her own fitness. She is on her school’s track team and has been inspired to try new sports – field hockey and volleyball.

Ashley Blake, Abby’s health teacher and pro­gram advisor, called her a great leader.

"She will make an amaz­ing national ambassador because she is enthusiastic and cares about others," said Blake in an email.

This is the second time Milford Middle School has been chosen by Fuel Up to Play 60. Lily Ayotte, now a Milford High sopho­more, was the first repre­sentative.

Fox 25 went to Milford Middle School last year for a "Zip Trip" featuring Fuel Up to Play 60, and the segment will air Aug. 21