Day 79: chicken patty

Today’s menu: chicken patty, whole wheat buns, baked beans, fruit juice, oatmeal cookie

Everything was brown! Wow. The patty was ok although I ate it open face slathered with bbq sauce. I don’t mind the baked beans. The juice tasted very sweet even though it is 100% juice. Believe it or not the cookie tasted great…hmm.


I enjoyed this morning’s guest blog post a lot. I’d like to say that the Presidential Fitness test really sucked for kids of all sizes. I wanted to win it badly, but I was not a runner and my time running the mile was often around 10 minutes. Also the “sit and reach” was terrible for me! I have no flexibility. The kids who always won were the athletes; the rest of us were just tortured and reminded of our physical weaknesses.

I’d also like to comment that I wanted to “letter” in a sport in high school, but even though I participated in sports, I never lettered. I was chronically disappointed. My high school developed an academic letter program around the time that I graduated. I thought that was a great idea. Is an academic letter program a common practice these days?

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28 thoughts on “Day 79: chicken patty

  1. Quite a few of my friends lettered in Academics in Texas. There are some schools that you can even letter in fine arts!

  2. I graduated from high school in 2004 and I did "letter" in athletics and academics. My athletic letters were from my sport of cheerleading. It was easier to earn you letters cheering because it's a two season sport. I got them my junior year of high school. I think my academic letters were more difficult to obtain. I didn't receive them until right before graduation.

  3. i had peer on the newspaper staff who lettered in headline writing, of all things.

  4. Your post brought back bad memories of that physical fitness test. I was OK at the short sprints but terrible at virtually everything else. Torturous!

    I graduated a looooonnnnngggg time ago so no academic letters in my time. Sounds like a great idea.

    I lettered in Volleyball at one high school. Loved that sport. Even though I was terrible at that fitness exam, I did have one mean volleyball spike! I was very disappointed when I transferred in 11th grade & learned the new school did not have a volleyball team.

    This lunch was very brown. Made me wince just to look at it. Poor you!

  5. My school awards academic letters and stars (they look exactly the same as athletic letters/stars) for a high GPA (3.85+). The letters and stars themselves aren't that exciting but it's nice to know that academic achievers are also recognized too 🙂

  6. I also graduated in 2004, and lettered in both academics and band. I also got my "stars" in the seasons I played softball, which meant I lettered in academics while playing a sport.

  7. My old high school (in Texas) gives letters in athletics, academics and many fine arts. i received mine in Band and my sisters got Drama and Choir letter jackets.

  8. We had letters for theatre!

    I was terrible at the Presidential Fitness Test. my 7th grade year, I hyperventilated during the mile run and nearly fainted. And I was not really overweight. Not at all. Not sporty, but not overweight. I actually wonder if that test didn't cause me to believe myself less fit than I was…

    As an adult, I am much more fit, and yoga has made me flexible, but… as a kid, I was one of the first girls in my class to develop, and I was awkward and clumsy. Those things just weren't going to happen for me. In 8th grade, I refused to run the mile. I walked it. Fast. And walked it faster than one kid who was trying to run it.

  9. Wow. I just wrote a long post and my adorable kitten walked across my keyboard. All gone.

    So, short story. I was underweight but in shape and couldn't run as the PFT required. My breath just gave out. The same year I set the record for "sit ups." Somewhere in that awful middle school is my name on a plaque.

    I just barely passed that test that year. I also remember when I was in 8th grade (start of middle school). They weighed all of us in front of the class. I already was restricting my meals. They announced my weight in front of the entire class. I was upset because I weighed more than someone else.

    I've had anorexia for the last 20 years. I'm 30 now. Considering what I've done to my body, I shouldn't be alive. I've had lots of close callls.

    I know I'm the opposite of your target audience but eating disorders are eating disorders. I'm in NO way saying that overweight teens have an ED or at risk of an ED but it's such a difficult subject. Some people learn that a normal diet consist of chicken nuggets and Coke w/ an ice cream sandwich as dessert. Some of us grow up thinking a meal should never be had. And then some us restrict for other reasons (wholly OT for this blog!). To stay on topic, yeah, kids often mirror their parents and also eat what is given to them.

    I know that as a middle schooler, I didn't eat. They left me $ to buy lunch and I wouldn't buy it or I would buy a diet coke (thankfully lots of schools are now getting rid of sodas). I spent the money on diet pills or makeup. Yeah, I know, I'm very much in the minority but I haven't seen any of this on your blog.

    As I look back on it, had I not had to go through the misery of being weighed in front of my class or have to run a mile or do pull-ups, I might be okay now. When I found out someone else was smaller than me, I freaked out. When I realized I couldn't run the mile and had to walk it (even though it was because of respiratory problems), I forced myself to work out for hours. I HAD to beat them. It churned up the competitor in me…. not to mention i HAD to be top of my class of 300+.


    And can I also mention this is why I am starting school in Sept to be a middle school teacher?

  10. At my school, in Iowa, there were letters given for academics, fine arts, and athletics. We had school wide awards ceremonies and everyone involved was at least given a participation award. I was shocked when I realized other schools don't do this…I thought it was the norm!

  11. Anonymous, 10:34PM — great point. Childhood obesity is a major concern in America but so is anorexia, bulimia, other eating disorders, and merely underweight kids who won't eat because they feel like there's nothing "good" (whether that's healthy or tasty) to eat at school.

    And I too was terrible at the fitness tests. I was always so short (10-20th percentile) and skinny that I just wasn't as strong as the other kids. Plus I have asthma. Making a "test" out of physical fitness is never a fair challenge, it just sets kids up (the biggest, the smallest, and even some in between) to feel bad about themselves.

    Also to Anon., good luck with finishing school and licensing! Middle school kids need all the support they can get!

  12. I lettered in band all four years of high school and in newspaper my senior year. I think academic/activity letters are a great idea!

  13. I lettered in Drama as well as an academic letter, that was in 1993. I can remember LOVING the chicken patties in the school cafeteria around age 8. Now it made me nauseous just to look at it. Hope tomorrow is better!

  14. I lettered in Swimming and Choir in high school. The choir one I earned more traditionally, but the swimming one was based a on a points system for dedication, attendance, improvement, and attitude. I was a terrible swimmer, but I went to every practice (even the morning ones) and cheered every race. At the time it felt weird to receive, but looking back I'm grateful to the coach for being so open-minded about achievement.

  15. my school in WA you could letter in honor society, choir, drama and band in addition to sports.
    I never bothered, although I could have done, because letterman's jacket's were so freakin' expensive.

  16. I didn't enjout the President's Test of Physical Fitness either. I am a perfectionist and always a straight A student, so I didn't like that I didn't pass. The pull-ups/upper body section was extremely difficult for me. But just because something is difficult, doesn't make it bad. I used this test, year after year, to do exercises that built my strength, endurace, and flexibility. In 5th grade when I finally got the upper body section (and thus the award), I was so proud and fulfilled because I had worked so hard. Maybe the problem is with society not teaching kids the value of hard work and perseverance…

    The guest blog was fine, but I was very disappointed with many of the comments.

  17. I graduated from high school in 1989, and lettered in orchestra and academics. Maybe we were in the vanguard?

    That presidential fitness test was a nightmare for me. How my life has changed– then, I was fat and out of shape. These days, I'm regularly placing in local 5k races…

  18. I graduated in 1995 in Michigan and my high school offered letters in sports, academics and fine arts. I was on the swim team and in band all 4 years of hs and lettered in them both after my senior year. I also earned an academic letter after my junior year. I'm currently back in school working on a second bachelors degree and your blog has inspired me to write a research paper on school lunch reform!

  19. We had a letter for extra-curriculars. If you did 500 hours of extra curricular activity you got a pin, 700 got you a letter (with a fancy little crest on it!) and 1000 got you a silver cord to wear with your cap 'n gown.

    As a drama/art/music nerd, getting a letter made me feel like school honored more than just athletics.

  20. I'm probably in the minority, but I don't believe physical education has a place in school. I think kids should have more time for unstructured play (recess) and movement. I get really irritated that my 9 year old daughter has to spend a half hour learning how to dribble a basketball. What a waste of school time! If she is good at a sport, or wants to pursue a sport, that can be done outside of school time.

    On the other hand, my daughter attends a school where the kids don't spend much time sitting in chairs. The focus of their education is on doing things, and learning to be responsible, life-long, learners. They move around their classroom as they need to, and even around the school itself if they need resources from another part of the building. Of course, it helps that the student:teacher ratio is 12:1. I just wish the school didn't feel obligated to spend time on PE. That extra half-hour would be much better spent giving the kids more time to eat a healthy lunch and socialize a bit.

    PE or not, I think that if we invested more money in our teachers (more of them and better paid) so that class sizes were decreased and teachers didn't risk burn-out so fast, everything in our schools would be better.

  21. I live in Minnesota and you can letter in Academics with being on the A-honor roll for a year. They send you the letter for the jackets you can buy, then for any other letter they have different symbols or bars you can add to the jacket if you want.

    My question is why do they always have the Mile run during the worst allergy seasons ('hay-fever' and spring pollen/mold)? I had such a hard time breathing that I lost all joy in running and dreaded the mandatory mile twice a year.

  22. We just attended my daughter's 3.0 club awards ceremony last night. The first year a student receives an academic letter they get a letter similiar to the varsity letter, the second and third year kids receive a medal and I don't know what the seniors with 4 years receive.

  23. 17 years ago academic letters were common in my small town HS. I lettered in basketball, track, and band tho.

    I'm one of those weirdo's who looked forward to the Presidential fitness test because apparently I could out-situp everyone in a three county area in the fifth grade. O__O

    I was also an over achiever with standardized testing so there you have it. I wasn't a fat kid, but I was a very very LARGE kid. Put it this way: I was voted Most Intimidating in my Senior Class Mock Elections. The freshman football team tried to recruit me. I thought I was fat in HS…turns out that I actually have a very much larger than average bone and muscle structure that comes straight from my Canadian-Scottish ancestry. (I had a great-aunt who was 6'3 at age 86)

  24. I graduated from high school in 1996, and it was during my time there that Academic and Drama letters were introduced. (And only my freshman year was Cheerleading added as a sport that could letter.) I think varsity letters for other activities are great, as long as they represent achievement, not just participation. It was *tough* to earn my letter in Track & Field, but it was so much more valuable because of it.

    BTW, regarding the Fitness tests, I agree that they were torturous and humiliating. The worst part, in my opinion, is that they were simply sprung on us with no preparation or training. If our gym teacher had offered regular lessons on pull-ups and running (teaching how to pace yourself, breathe, hold your arms properly), and actually had us run regularly rather than play dodgeball and badminton, more of us might have had a chance to do well. So much for physical "education."

  25. I'm a high school student in Illinois, and my school gives out academic letters, as well as letters for many extracurricular activities (Theater, Marching Band, etc.)

  26. I always hated PE as a kid. I was very active at home, but something about PE just made me miserable. Probably part of it (when I was a little older at least) was knowing that you would get sweaty and gross then have to go back to class afterward. The Presidential Fitness test was the worst; I still have memories of trying to do X number of pushups or pullups (and I'm 23 now). My high school didn't offer academic letters I don't think, but I lettered in tennis and colorguard (part of the marching band).

  27. I graduated in 2002 from a high school in WA. I was lucky enough to letter in two sports (worked my butt off to make varsity soccer for my senior season, and randomly scored one point in one track meet because there were only three competitors in the event), but I also earned letters in band and debate. I did not buy the jacket but I put all the patches on my "fuzzy letter" and kept that.
    I had friends that earned letters in drama and team managering. My school did not offer letters for academic success, but my cousin's school did and I thought that was a great idea. I think it is nice to honor kids who succeed at the thing the school is supposed to be prioritizing in the first place.

  28. I "lettered" in both choir and academics. I also got the gym class requirement out of the way as quickly as possible so I could spend my time on classes that would actually enrich my life. I wasn't a *bad* athlete – I was a healthy weight for my height and I ate right, but I had no muscles to speak of so I really hated the kinds of sports we were forced to do in gym class. No matter how hard I tried, I could never manage to be more than mediocre.

    When I compared that with what I could do on the math team, or the science bowl, or the show choir . . . well, there's a limited amount of time in a high schooler's life for extra-curriculars. Why would I want to spend it around jocks who looked down on me instead of with fellow-minded nerds among whom I could excel?

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