The Second Chance Breakfast is available 9:25-9:35, between first and second periods. The longer the day goes, the hungrier students become, the food service personnel have found, so they keep items available. They hope to expand the breakfast program to the Middle School next year.

It pays to listen in class.

That's what Osage High School food service worker Emily Keeran discovered.

She and co-workers Cindy Hutzler, food service director, and Rose Robinett, high school food service supervisor, attended a workshop over the summer in Springfield. Keeran's takeaway was that a segment of the student population at many schools was going unserved at breakfast time.

Students weren't taking the time at home for breakfast (said to be the most important meal of the day), weren't being fed at home or were involved in early-morning extra-curricular activities at school and didn't have time. The program is boosting participation along with targeting the students who don't have time to eat between 7:30 and 8 a.m.

The second-year employee shared those concerns with Hutzler and Robinett and after further planning decided to implement a Second Chance Breakfast program at OHS. They've even expanded the program to include a "grab-and-go" lunch, a new addition to the lunch line.

The response?

Better than expected, Hutzler explained. And it's getting more and more popular.

Only two students took part in the breakfast program when school started last fall, and that gave pause to the trio of food service employees. Should they make the extra effort if only a few students participated? Keeran saw promise in the program, and refused to give up. She began spreading the word with flyers, talked to teachers and relied on word of mouth, and it's paid off. By mid-October, 80 students were participating, many of them band students who have early morning practice.

The breakfast is simple: It's a prepackaged breakfast bar or whole grain item with milk or juice, all of which meets FDA nutritional requirements.

The Second Chance Breakfast is available 9:25-9:35, between first and second periods. The longer the day goes, the hungrier students become, the food service personnel have found, so they keep items available. They hope to expand the breakfast program to the Middle School next year.

"We've gotten lots of thank yous," Keeran said. "The kids are so appreciative."

The grab-and-go lunches have become even more popular, as nearly every student stops in for a quick bite. It's a box lunch that consists of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, fruit, a veggie and chips.

"We keep wondering will it last, will it last? But we're getting the feeling that it's here to stay," Hutzler said of the Second Chance Breakfast program.

There isn't any additional cost to the district since the food service program is reimbursed through the federal government.