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Healthy pizza, happy children

AtlantiCare names winner of pizza-making contest

Nidaa with pizza
6th grader Nidaa Bukhari shows off her winning recipe for "A Pizza's a Pizza," made to order by Tony Boloney's for the grand prize winner of AtlantiCare's "Build a Better Pizza" contest.

Sixth grade students in Janine Riggins, EdD's class at Texas Avenue School in Atlantic City enjoyed the fruits and vegetables of a classmate's imagination Thursday April 10, as Tony Boloney's® Indigenous Pizza, Subs and Grub™ delivered lunchtime pizza to the grand prize winner of the AtlantiCare Healthy Schools Healthy Children's "Build a Better Pizza" contest.

Nidaa Bukhari's recipe for "A Pizza's a Pizza," which includes ingredients such as whole wheat dough, portabella mushrooms, asparagus, chopped kale, fresh mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, was Tony Boloney's chef and owner Mike Hauke's hands-down favorite. "Garlic paste and kale – are you kidding me? Put a crown on Nidaa's head! This pizza is 100 percent the winner," enthused Hauke, who was on the judging committee.

The contest, co-sponsor by AtlantiCare Healthy Schools, Healthy Children and Tony Boloney's, invited students to "put on their chef hats" and to crank up their imagination this winter. Six schools from Atlantic and Cape May Counties submitted student entries.

Bukhari, who had never tried asparagus before, felt adventurous in including it as a topping on her winning pizza. "It's really good," she said of the vegetable. Of the pizza, she added "It's definitely up to my expectation – maybe even better."

The contest was orchestrated to get students and classrooms to engage with the food they eat, and to offer healthy alternatives to a kids' dietary staple: pizza. "If we want kids to eat healthier, we can't just throw kale in front of them and expect them to eat it without ever seeing it or knowing what kale is," said Samantha Kiley, director of Community Engagement and Client Relations, AtlantiCare. "Adding healthy items to familiar food – something like pizza – is a great way to introduce new foods to kids in a comfortable way."

"AtlantiCare Healthy Schools Program has changed the way Texas Avenue School thinks and feels about food and about our health," said physical education teacher Julie Land, who has helped integrate HSHC programming into the school's curriculum for all of its students. "We love AtlantiCare's creative approaches to health education. The Healthy Schools Healthy Children program provides us with inspiration about what a healthy school should look and feel like."

Bukhari's winning pizza will be featured on Tony Boloney's menu starting in mid-May for restaurant customers.

Samantha Kiley and Nidaa Bukhari
Samantha Kiley, director of Community Engagement and Client Relations, AtlantiCare, congratulates Nidaa Bukhari on her grand prize-winning pizza recipe. Bukhari's class enjoyed the pizza, delivered by Tony Boloney's® Indigenous Pizza, Subs and Grub™, which co-sponsored the contest.

3 Diaz Nunez Washington Vargas Johnson Shumski Bukhari Gonzalez Flores-Chirinos Kiley

Students from Dr. Robbins's 6th grade class pose with grand prize contest winner Nidaa Bukhari. From left to right are: Robinson Diaz, Magdalena Nunez, teacher Nina Washington, Christopher Vargas, Dwayne Johnson, Special Education teacher Barbara Shumski, Build A Better Pizza winner Nidaa Bukhari, Ayanna Gonzalez, Norma Flores-Chirinos, and Samantha Kiley, director of Community Engagement & Client Relations, AtlantiCare.

4 John Latorre with Nidaa Bukhari

John Latorre, general manager of Tony Boloney's in Atlantic City, shows off Nidaa Bukhari's winning pizza.

5 Dr. Robbins with Nidaa Bukhari

Teacher Dr. Janine Riggins congratulates Bukhari on her grand prize.

6 classmate Christopher Vargas gives the winning pizza a thumbs up

Classmate Christopher Vargas gives Bukhari's recipe a thumbs-up.

7 Bukhari celebrates

Nidaa Bukhari flashes a winning smile in celebration of the pizza party donated by Tony Boloney's for the grand prize of AtlantiCare's Build a Better Pizza contest.

About AtlantiCare's Healthy Schools, Healthy Children Program

AtlantiCare's Healthy Schools, Healthy Children program works with area schools to create and sustain healthy school environments by providing resources and programming to ensure students are healthy and ready to learn. For more information about this or other AtlantiCare programs, or to find a provider, call the AtlantiCare Access Center 1-888-569-1000, visit www.atlanticare.org or find AtlantiCare on Facebook at www.facebook.com/atlanticare.

Media Contacts:

Jennifer Tornetta, (O) 609-569-7010, (C) 609-335-3446,

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Betsy Woerner, (O) 609-748-7539, (C) 609-385-6361,
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AtlantiCare is an integrated system of services designed to help people achieve optimal health. It includes AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, AtlantiCare Health Engagement, the AtlantiCare Foundation, and AtlantiCare Health Services. Its more than 5,221 employees and more than 700 physicians serve the community in nearly 70 locations. A 2009 Malcolm Baldrige Award winner, AtlantiCare was also included in Modern Healthcare's Best Places to Work in Healthcare in 2010. ARMC became the 105th hospital in the nation to attain status as a Magnet™ designated hospital in March of 2004 and was redesignated a Magnet™ hospital in 2008 and 2013

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