Contact:  Brian Sansoni, American Cleaning Institute, 202.662.2517 or [email protected]

Minnesota Students Honored for Making “A Clean Start” in the Classroom

  • Litchfield Middle School Students Promote Lifelong Lessons on Handwashing and Hygiene
  • “Healthy Schools, Healthy People” Award Given by the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Minnesota FCCLA Chapter Teaches 500 Children about Hand Hygiene and the Benefits of Cleaning Products

Washington, D.C., May 17, 2019 – A group of Minnesota middle-schoolers knows a thing or two about teaching the meaning of clean. Now, they are receiving national recognition for those efforts.

Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) students at Litchfield Middle School – Ellie Brown, Shelby Dengerud, Camryn Iverson and Olivia Olson – received the 2019 “Healthy Schools, Healthy People” National Award for designing a school-based hand hygiene campaign that teaches other children what germs are, how they can harm us, how to avoid germs by handwashing and how and when to properly wash their hands.

Healthy Schools, Healthy People is a 15-year old joint initiative of the American Cleaning Institute (ACI - and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC - The program focuses on the promotion of handwashing and hygiene among school students to reduce absenteeism due to preventable illnesses.

“Handwashing with soap and water is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of germs, particularly during cold and flu season,” said Dr. David Berendes, an epidemiologist at CDC. “Congratulations to Litchfield Middle School on their creative, interactive, and engaging efforts to teach kids about germs and to keep everyone healthy.”

Teaching Clean

The Litchfield FCCLA team used their creativity to design a ball game using Glo Germ™ which, using an ultra-violet light, shows the person-to-person spread of germs. The students also designed a science experiment using potatoes to show how germs grow on surfaces and read story time books about the importance of handwashing.

This student cohort decided to implement the message “A Clean Start” to the preschool students of Mighty Dragons Preschool and to the 5th Grade students at Litchfield Middle School. These students were selected because both grades are starting a new chapter of their lives. Both groups are learning how to make more informed decisions in their daily lives, including how to combat germs. The team showed measureable changes in hygiene behavior through the use of a follow-up survey administered weeks after their hands-on lessons.

“This campaign provided a great mix of innovation, education and fun!” said Chuck Crawford, Vice President, Research & Development, North America, Henkel Corporation, and ACI Board of Directors’ liaison for Handwashing/Hygiene programs. “Henkel is pleased to support this important initiative. Like Healthy Schools, Healthy People, Henkel is committed to teaching children healthy hygiene habits, which in turn inspires healthier futures.”

“These students did a stellar job. Their handwashing campaign showed teamwork, creativity, and it made an impact in their school community,” said Rachel Collins, ACI Director, Education & Outreach. “Clean hands and good hygiene habits help us all to stay healthy and engaged in the world around us.”

Spreading Hygiene Messages for Years to Come

Ellie, Camryn, Shelby, and Olivia invited their family members to record a podcast, which shares important information regarding health and handwashing resources from ACI and CDC. The team plans on sharing this podcast with other FCCLA chapters across the country. It is believed that this Litchfield Middle School project reached 500 students and families.

“We hope these numbers increase as these young students go through their school career. Additionally, we believe the podcast can reach hundreds more people, spreading the message for years to come,” said Julie Rick, one of two FCCLA advisors who coached this winning team along with Jen Kraabel.  

In addition to the award, the Litchfield Middle School FCCLA team won an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. The school will receive $7,500 donated from several ACI member companies.

The following companies contributed cash and/or hygiene products to the Litchfield school as well as this year’s awards runners-up: Arylessence, Inc., The Clorox Company, Colgate-Palmolive Company, Ecolab, Inc., Georgia-Pacific Professional, Henkel Corporation and Seventh Generation.

North Carolina, Wisconsin Classrooms Receive Runners-Up Honors

Lake Lure Classical Academy (LLCA), Lake Lure, NC earned a runner up award for “Germ Busters.”

LLCA students delivered positive hand hygiene messages through songs, games, and instruction to their K-2 students with the support of the school nurse and Marketing Director. “Henry the Hand” stickers and “Handwashing Detectives” stations were some of the techniques they used to build enthusiasm. They also created two videos highlighting their campaign and posted them to their school website and Facebook.

Stanley Boyd High School, Stanley, WI earned a runner up award for “Spread the Love, Not Germs.”  This FCCLA team there conducted a three-part lesson based on CDC’s proper hand washing techniques for 1st grade classrooms. They used glitter, paint, and posters to engage all students. “Spread the Love, Not Germs” was the slogan of their school-wide poster project.

For more information on clean hands at home, school, or work, visit




About The American Cleaning Institute® - (ACI – is the Home of the U.S. Cleaning Products Industry® and represents the $60 billion U.S. cleaning product supply chain. ACI members include the manufacturers and formulators of soaps, detergents, and general cleaning products used in household, commercial, industrial and institutional settings; companies that supply ingredients and finished packaging for these products; and chemical distributors.  ACI serves the growth and innovation of the U.S. cleaning products industry by advancing the health and quality of life of people and protecting our planet. ACI achieves this through a continuous commitment to sound science and being a credible voice for the cleaning products industry.