Video star motivates thousands of South MS students to move

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - This week, the star of some popular exercise videos came to South Mississippi to motivate thousands of students. He brought with him a simple message: Move your body and you can boost your brain. He explained how five minutes of movement can make a big difference in your child's grades and behavior.

"Everyone up!" shouted Coach Larry Calhoun.

Hundred of youngsters at Quarles Elementary in Long Beach immediately jumped up and screamed with delighted.

Calhoun is a celebrity in the eyes of the little ones.  He is the star of 14 "Move to Learn" videos that have been used in many Mississippi classrooms. Calhoun put on his goofy glasses and showed off his fancy moves at Quarles and two other schools in South Mississippi. He explained why students should take a five-minute exercise break in class to wake up their bodies and their brains.

"When the children get bored and they start losing it academically, the research has shown that just five minutes can make a difference in their focus and concentration," said Calhoun. "The idea is that when children move, things get better academically."

"I teach first grade and they're very active and when you go for more than 30 minutes, they just need a break of some type. I found this to be a good resource to kind of get them back on track, let them get all the energy out and we can go right back to learning," said Jillian Carmody.

"Shake it all around!" Calhoun shouted.

Calhoun used a lot of humor to get his message across. His crazy antics and high energy level kept even the adults motivated.

"Oh yeah! Break it down," he told the crowd.

In between each routine, Calhoun injected lessons about using laughter as therapy, and how students can use "cool comebacks" to manage their anger and handle bullies.

"And I'm a third grader. They say, 'Coach, you're bald headed' and I can look at him and walk away and say, 'Hey, guess what? My mama like it,'" said Calhoun.

Calhoun has a passion for changing children's lives for the better. He was a chubby child who grew up to become a PE teacher at Clinton Public Schools. Calhoun gets inspired every time he looks into the crowd.

"Children excited about movement. Children excited about learning. Who wouldn't be excited with all the energy we find in these schools that we travel to? There are a lot of success stories right here in the state of Mississippi," said Calhoun.

Calhoun visits about 50 schools across the state every year. There are 150-schools on the waiting list. The "Move to Learn" program is sponsored by the Bower Foundation and the State Department of Education.  The videos are free, so you can even exercise at home.

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