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Students get fit in line-dancing class
BY AMY FLOWERS UMBLE
Students at Stafford County’s H.H. Poole Middle School kicked it country style last week—wriggling their hips, moving their heels to the twang of a country beat.
And they scooted and shimmied their way to a healthier lifestyle.
“It’s a good workout,” said line-dancing instructor Olivia Ray. “You’d be surprised at how many calories you can burn.”
The week of line dancing was part of an effort to combat childhood obesity in Virginia.
The Family, Career and Community Leaders of America Club at North Stafford High School received a Y Street grant to hire Ray to spend the week teaching line dancing to the H.H. Poole students.
Y Street, a statewide organization that campaigns against teenage smoking and childhood obesity, gave money to 25 Virginia schools. North Stafford and Colonial Forge High School were the only two local schools to get the grants.
The organization tries to get students to spread the word about healthy living.
“Student spread the word more effectively,” said Jack Hendrickson, program coordinator for Y Street. “You’re going to listen to your friends more than you’re going to listen to a TV commercial.”
Students in North Stafford’s FCCLA Club received training on making healthy choices, and they took that knowledge to H.H. Poole’s middle-schoolers.
The high school students chose line dancing as a way to show that working out comes in many forms.
And while Ray worried that the younger dancers wouldn’t be familiar with the country tunes, the event was a hit with the middle-schoolers.
“If you’re having fun and getting into it, you’re going to get a cardio workout,” said sixth-grader Giuseppi Inserra.
“It’s pretty neat that they would come here to let there be a lot of exercise, because there are kids that don’t get to workout.”
After a brief lesson on working out and watching what you eat, the middle school students got to boogie.
They had trouble forming a line at first.
But once they lined up, the students quickly got the hang of the dance, adding some swagger to their “left heel, right heel” instructions.
“I’m glad I had a chance to work with this project, which focused on fighting childhood obesity through dance,” said North Stafford High School student Melissa Nichols.
Amy Flowers Umble: 540/735-1973