April 9, 2014

Walking it Off


Scott: There are all kinds of ways to get fit and lead a healthy lifestyle, but sometimes nothing beats a little encouragement from a friend. Now some students in Indiana are using the age-old buddy system, and finding some great results.

Eric Ekis: Yeah, it’s complete. Sitting in my locker.

Scott: Every step for Eric Ekis is a step in the right direction.

Eric: He called me out into the hallway one day and he asked me if I wanted to come before school and walk with him.

Scott: That was the beginning of a school project for seniors Kevin Stahl and Grace Siebert, both students in the Innovation class at Franklin High School in Indiana.

Kevin Stahl: It started out as just working with Eric and just kind of help him with his grades and his life and try to get his weight down some, and then it’s evolved since then.

Scott: As part of this Innovation project, Eric and Kevin now walk the school halls together. It was just a few students walking at first. Now teacher Lesleigh Groce says other students who want to make healthy choices have joined in too.

Lesleigh Groce: It’s been really cool to watch him inspire other kids.

Scott: Other kids like Tessa.

Tessa: I hated talking and I just didn’t like walking through the hallways.

Scott: But after working out with Ms. Groce and other students, the girl who used to be shy and quiet, because she had been bullied, is now 20 pounds lighter and confident.

Tessa: I’m walking faster than most people out there and I’m standing taller. I like looking up now and I look at people.

Scott: Eric, who is also down 20 pounds, sees a difference too.

Eric: In the beginning, I was really depressed, and this has just been so exciting for me. I feel a whole lot better than I used to.

Scott: So much better that he now wants to use his story to inspire others. So he is vlogging about his journey.

Eric: It’s changing not just my life but we’re also walking with other kids at the school. I’m not alone in this. There are so many other kids out there like me.

Scott: And so innovation becomes inspiration. And a link between unlikely friends changes lives because of a class project.

Grace Siebert: These are relationships that I have in my life now. And it is not just a project. I don’t look at it as a project anymore, I just think of it as my friends.

Tessa: It makes me happier knowing that I actually have the confidence to speak out.

Eric: I want to be the inspiration that helps other kids.

Scott: Feeling inspired? Well, get tips on starting your own workout plan at the Spring Training page at


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