School’s program keeping kids active

A recent study conducted by the Center for Disease Control showed childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past thirty years.

One Marquette County school is doing its part to curb that trend, each and every morning.

Welcome to North Star Academy, where for the past three years, students have started their day with a hearty breakfast and a blood-pumping 25-minute workout before class even begins.

“Every year we start with the kids and we just tell them do what you can do.  Stay with me, keep moving,” Motions S.O.A.R. instructor Amber Pender said.  “As the year progresses, you start to see kids be able to do more.  You see kids working harder.  You see them improve all the way through.  Even just week to week you see improvement, and it’s just so exciting to actually come and be here in person and see how much harder they work when you’re in front of them.”

But the Student Optimization and Readiness Program, or S.O.A.R., allows school districts and trainers to be flexible in the way the message is delivered.

“Technology allows us, really, to decrease costs for schools because we could blanket ten, twenty, even 100 schools all simultaneously, which for schools is everything,” Motions Fitness owner Mike Koskiniemi said.

But some aspects of the program go beyond cost, increasing students’ capacity to learn while interacting with teachers outside of the classroom.

“It is very fun.  I enjoy the little workout I get too.  I can’t do everything but I try to do what I can,” North Star Academy fourth grade teacher Amy Andrews said.  “The kids really like it, they get a lot out of it.  They are definitely more active brain wise when they come back to class.  They’re able to sit in their seats and pay attention a lot better.  If they don’t have a fitness morning, you definitely notice the difference.”

And although every exercise isn’t exactly a crowd favorite, each kid has found a niche they can flourish in.

“When we all go in circles and do stuff and we’re running or jogging and do stuff, and we all go somewhere, I like that,”Canyon, a second grader at North Star said.

“I like side planks the best I think,” Maddie, a third grader at North Star said.  “I feel like I’m exercised and ready to do the stay and stuff.”

A sentiment that both students and faculty clearly share.