St. Stephens Elementary School students are singing and dancing about the benefits of making healthy lifestyle decisions.
On Friday, a collection of fifth and sixth grade students from St. Stephens asked their fellow classmates “How Fit are You?” during an original musical written by the school’s music teacher, June Robison.
The purpose of the song and dance numbers is simple—education — a theme outlined in the musical’s final number “You’ve Got the Power:"
"You’ve got the power this very hour
to make healthy choices every day.
Responsibility and self control,
you’ll need along the way.
Begin today. Don’t delay."
Robison said her healthy-minded songs, which were arranged by her husband Kenny, will help children remember the messages better and help reduce North Carolina’s obesity rate that is the eleventh highest in the nation, according to nchealthinfo.org.
“Anytime you put pitch and rhythm together, they can remember it better,” she said. “They’ve taken ownership of it, and took on the goal of teaching other children and their parents, not only themselves.”
Robison is a recent breast cancer survivor and came up with the idea for the musical after tackling radiation treatment and surgery shortly after she was diagnosed in January 2010.
“I have discovered that exercise and diet plays a part in reducing one’s risk of developing several cancers, so I am hoping that the emphasis on exercise and diet will even motivate the adults (who see the musical),” Robison said.
Students performed five song and dance numbers that revolved around Dr. Bee Coz’s Game Show on Health Matters called “How Fit Are You?”
Hannah Parker, a sixth grader at St. Stephens that played Mrs. Read in the musical. She said she has learned a lot about healthy eating by participating in the performance.
“I’m going to try cutting down on my serving sizes and not eat so much junk food,” Parker said. “I want to start eating fruits and vegetables too.”
Parker said the purpose of the musical is to “get you moving and eating right.”
“I got to meet a lot of new people and I got to learn how to keep my body fit,” she added.
Justin French, a sixth grader at St. Stephens, sang in the chorus Friday and said he “really likes” singing and plans on doing chorus in seventh grade next year.
“Singing was one of the best parts about this,” French said. “We are teaching all of (our classmates) how to be healthy.”
French, who said he spends about one hour on the computer a day, said he wants to play more outside and be active.
Robison said she plans to expand the musical in the future to other schools and possibly create a related fund-raising element.
“This benefits the children because they are being a part of something that is collaborative,” Robison said. “My hope is that they will spend
more time outside and do family oriented things as well.”
Robison’s hopes may already be coming true, as Xana Osborne, a sixth grader at St. Stephens who played the lead role Friday night, said something that clearly expressed how the musical has motivated her.
“You can do anything that you can put your mind to,” Osborne said, “and you will be healthy and won’t be able to die unhealthy.”