North High Becomes First Blue Zones Project Approved High School 

Friday March 15, 2024

North High School has become Bakersfield’s first-ever Blue Zones Project Approved™ high school. The Blue Zones Project is a community wellness initiative that inspires healthy lifestyles by making positive changes to a city’s environment and policy.  A school can receive a Blue Zone designation when it implements positive, healthy choices for students.

North received the designation Thursday for its work to maintain its school garden and greenhouse where fresh fruits and vegetables are grown. The campus also created a student-lead Blue Zones Project club. The club is focused on supporting and enhancing the health and well-being of North High School and the Oildale community. The group has already partnered with the school’s Adventure Club to go out on hikes.

“North High School hasn’t just completed the Blue Zones Pledge; they’ve taken ownership of it, setting a new standard for wellness initiatives in our community,” said Jonathan Gallardo, organization lead for schools for Blue Zones Project Bakersfield.

Outdoor musical instruments are available to students in North High’s Music Garden.

North was also recognized for its Music Garden, launched last May as a first-of-its-kind mindfulness space. Outdoor musical instruments are available to students and community members to express themselves, to unleash their creativity, to be inspired and uplifted, or simply as a means of relaxation. Students are also allowed to check out yoga mats to enjoy an outdoor yoga session as well.

“I am so proud that North High School has become a Blue Zones approved school. This is a huge testament to the hard work of our staff highlighting our focus on health and wellness,” said Jodi Shuppert, North High School principal. “North High has always been a community-centered school, and this is a great opportunity to reinforce the importance of overall wellness to all North High stakeholders.”

In addition to North High, McKinley Elementary School become Bakersfield’s first-ever Blue Zones Project Approved™ school last fall. The school was recognized for maintaining a school garden, introduced Walking School Bus events, providing invaluable nutrition education, implementing mindfulness programs, and adding personalized posters to the cafeteria to encourage healthier food choices.

Blue Zones Project Bakersfield is a community well-being initiative sponsored by Adventist Health, in partnership with the California Resources Corporation, City of Bakersfield and Blue Zones LLC, that is designed to enable community members to live longer, happier lives with lower rates of chronic diseases and a higher quality of life. Thank you to Valley Children’s Healthcare for being a Community Champion for our schools.

To learn more about Blue Zones Project Bakersfield, visit bakersfield.bluezonesproject.com. 

By Robert Meszaros

By Robert Meszaros

Rob Meszaros is Director of Communications for the Kern County Superintendent of Schools, where he has served since 2012. In his role, Meszaros oversees media relations, internal and external communication strategies, publications, Marcom, branding, and multi-media content creation. Before joining KCSOS, Meszaros was the PIO for CSU Bakersfield and earlier worked for seven years at The Bakersfield Californian.