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Youngsters get “Strong4Life” lessons

Photo by Johnny Jackson 
TellTale Theatre actor Dan Ford as Scooter Scoggins dips Becca Potter as Veggie Victoria during a show called “Strong4Life.” The show about healthy living was presented to students at Cotton Indian Elementary School in Stockbridge.

Photo by Johnny Jackson TellTale Theatre actor Dan Ford as Scooter Scoggins dips Becca Potter as Veggie Victoria during a show called “Strong4Life.” The show about healthy living was presented to students at Cotton Indian Elementary School in Stockbridge.

STOCKBRIDGE — Students at Cotton Indian Elementary School got a lesson in good nutrition and exercise recently.

Some children sang out, “I’m strong for life,” as they left the packed school gymnasium Tuesday morning.

Fourth-grader Marly Armstrong was among the roughly 640 students who attended the “Strong4Life” assembly celebrating healthy living.

“I thought it was really funny and I loved it,” said Armstrong, 9. “Everybody should exercise, drink more water, eat veggies and fruit to stay healthy. If you keep on doing it, the whole world can be strong and active.”

The Marietta-based troupe, TellTale Theatre, was sponsored by Children’s Health Care of Atlanta and Kohl’s Cares for Kids organization to put on the interactive show targeting elementary school youths.

John Schmedes, the troupe’s artistic director, said the show has reached roughly 40,000 children throughout metro Atlanta in just the past year.

“Research shows that good theater is one of the most effective learning tools for anybody, especially the children,” said Schmedes.

He said he wrote the 40-minute show about a year ago to encourage children to pursue healthy lifestyles.

“The lesson is clear — that they should exercise, eat healthy and stay active to be ‘Strong4Life,’ ” he said.

The show featured actors Dan Ford, who played Scooter Scoggins, Becca Potter, who played Veggie Victoria, and Matt Bartholomew, who played Phoney.

Schmedes said the character Veggie Victoria enlists Scooter Scoggins, 12, to help her tell the world about healthy living, while Phoney encourages people to eat unhealthy foods and indulge in sedentary activities. But in the end, Veggie Victoria and her sidekick are victorious.

Armstrong said she was impressed by the show and the actors in it.

“I want to be just like them because they get to perform in front of people and teach people stuff,” said Armstrong. “I learned you can get really strong by eating healthy, exercising and drinking more water.”

Armstrong said she already eats healthy and exercises. Her favorite foods include corn and green beans. She said she also likes to play Dance 3 on her Wii gaming system and enjoys playing soccer and basketball.

Laura Turner is the community outreach liaison at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Tuesday’s show has been an integral part of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Strong4Life program and the Kohl’s Healthy Halls program over the past year. Turner said there are plans to bring the performance to other area schools.

“We’re trying to bring more of the children’s wellness initiatives down to Henry County,” said Turner.