A dozen Missouri teens shed 756 pounds after spending a semester at a South Carolina boarding school, where getting fit is part of the curriculum.
Set on 43 acres in Bluffton, S.C., Mindstream Academy caters to overweight middle and high school students who are serious about getting healthy but not missing class. The school offers a wide range of activities, from Zumba to horseback riding.
Cameron Larkin, one of the dozen students from Missouri who spent a semester at Mindstream Academy, said he learned how to exercise and build his endurance at the school.
"It's really not easy," he said. "You have to have the confidence to say, 'I can go do this.'"
Cameron, and his friends from Independence, had their nearly $29,000 tuition paid for by the Independence School District, along with their families and several charities.
A typical day at Mindstream Academy begins with stretching, followed by a light half-mile walk or run around the lake, according to the school's website.
Students then go to classes and have a pre-lunch workout, such as martial arts, that helps them focus on proper mechanics, the school said.
During the mid-afternoon, classes break for team sports activities, such as soccer or kick ball.
In the evening, a stroll around campus or a pick-up game of basketball rounds out the day.
At the end of the four month program, the 12 students from Independence shed a combined 756 pounds.
Chelsea Neely, one of the dozen students from Independence, said the investment was worth every penny.
"I've proven to myself that I am important," she said. "And what's to come is the greatest thing."