How do you teach hygiene in middle schools? One group of students hit the science lab. A language arts class used the power of music.  And students in art and family and consumer science classes designed posters for a clean hands campaign.
These three examples represent the efforts put forth by students honored in 2009 by the Healthy Schools, Healthy People: It's a SNAP Program.  SNAP - the School Network for Absenteeism Prevention - is a joint initiative of The Soap and Detergent Association (SDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
A trio of students from All Saints Regional Catholic School in Manahawkin, New Jersey took the Top Classroom Award for their handwashing project in the school's science lab. They received an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, DC, where they were honored at a ceremony held at National Press Club.
"The Bubble Trouble Team"
Students Joey Bockin, Adam Busch-Arata and Jake Ellis - then in sixth grade - completed three studies and tested their subjects before and after educating them on the proper way to clean their hands.
The "Bubble Trouble" teamalso created a brochure with their study results, facts about hand hygiene and steps the school, students and parents can take to keep them healthy, allow for more time in academics and save money.  A series of posters included a variety of hand hygiene slogans and the theme "Who are you eating lunch with?" to encourage their classmates to clean their hands more often.
"Year after year, students from around the country come up with clever and resourceful ideas to teach their classmates about the importance of hand hygiene," said Nancy Bock, SDA Vice President of Education.  "Students teaching one another valuable life lessons can make a great impact - especially when the message is that good health is literally in our hands each and every school day."
Good Hygiene Through Art and Music
The runners-up in the 2009 SNAP Awards used music and art to help spread the word about good hygiene.
At Joseph L. Carwise Middle School in Palm Harbor, Florida, a language arts class used the universal power of music to help students connect across generations to promote healthy habits and reduce absenteeism while creating an original music video.  The students decorated bulletin boards, made posters and created poems.  The song was aired on the school's morning announcements and the elementary and high schools are also airing the video.  Parents and students also visited a local assisted living center to distribute posters.
Students at Hauppauge (New York) Middle School saw a collaborative effort among students in family and consumer science and art classes for a "clean hands campaign."  They put together a fact sheet and incorporated hygiene messages into the morning announcements and put copies in every teacher's mailbox to read to students during homeroom.  The art department designed 20 giant posters that promoted hand hygiene. School nurses helped by having students in their clinic make mini-posters while the students were recovering.
Several SDA member companies contributed products and/or financial assistance for the SNAP National Award Program, including Arylessence, Inc.;  The Dial Corporation, A Henkel Company; GOJO Industries, Inc.; Reckitt Benckiser Inc.; and Water Journey, Ltd. Teachers can visit the SNAP website - - for information on how to participate in the program.