KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Independence School District welcomed home another class of students Friday from a semester at a life-changing fitness program. 41 Action News traveled to MindStream Academy in South Carolina last fall to show you the hardcore regiment.
Many of those same kids returned to MindStream in January to continue their transformation. Parents, siblings and district representatives gathered at Kansas City International Airport for their homecoming.
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Flight 2641 just couldn't get to the gate fast enough. On board – students returning with a lot less weight and a lot more self-confidence.
Finally as the door opened and the students appeared, cheers, shouts, hugs and tears followed. Then parents stepped back for their first look in about five months.
Emily Beers lost 84 pounds. Chelsea Neely lost 77. Jason Alexander lost 165 pounds – about half of the body weight he started with last fall when they arrived at MindStream.
The school is situated on an old horse farm, nestled among the tranquil trees and a lake. It is sort of The Biggest Loser goes to boarding school. The curriculum includes lots of fitness mixed in with life-changing lessons.
"It wasn't mainly focused on weight loss," Emily Beers explained. "It was focused on changing yourself as a whole."
"I've learned portion control, how to exercise correctly. Just so many things," Chelsea Neely added.
But beyond that transformation, it's the lessons learned on the inside that have their parents equally pleased and a bit emotional.
Felix Orie's son Malik Hart lost 77 pounds.
"The camp has brought out his personality," Orie said. "It's enriched his soul. It's made him a whole new person."
Each student not only returned leaner, they also returned with an amazing inner strength.
"I'm not quiet anymore," Chelsea said with a smile. "Positive, and I'm self-confident."
The students all said they are not afraid of going back to their weights because it's not about dieting. They have adopted life-changing attitudes about how they eat and deal with stress, attitudes they are sharing with their families here at home.