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And we danced

Elementary students lead morning exercises on courthouse lawn

Clarke Elementary students dance to songs for an exercise event on the courthouse lawn Friday morning.
OST photo by AMY HANSEN Clarke Elementary students dance to songs for an exercise event on the courthouse lawn Friday morning.

Are you ready to break it down and get funky? Clarke Elementary students did just that Friday, May 2, on the courthouse square in Osceola.

The exercise dance event was planned by Lindsay Diehl, Clarke Elementary gym teacher and softball coach, and Shawn Johnson with Johnson’s Elite Training (JET).

“It’s been exciting to see kids excited about bettering themselves, and it’s not about losing weight or being in shape, but it’s more about being active,” said Clarke Elementary Assistant Principal Randy Bolton. “The biggest thing is just for them to be cognizant of how important it is just to do something.”

The dance workout was in conjunction with the Live Healthy Iowa Initiative and the morning “Sharpen the Saw” workouts Johnson and Diehl have been leading at the elementary school this year.


A select number of students who have been regularly attending the morning workouts at the elementary school were asked to lead the group in dancing on the stage on the courthouse lawn.

The students danced to four songs — “Cha Cha Slide,” “Cupid Shuffle,” “Cotton-Eyed Joe” and “Chicken Dance.”

Every time a new song was announced, a loud cry of appreciation rose up from the students.

This workout event meant there was more than 750 students ranging from kindergarten through sixth grade exercising all at the same time together.

“The more people see that others are out there being active and becoming healthier, the more they’re going to have the urge to try,” Johnson said in a statement to the Osceola Sentinel-Tribune.

Clarke students and staff were escorted by Osceola Police Department as they walked to and from the courthouse square.


Bolton said it was encouraging to see kids practicing their dances in school hallways, rather than shoving each other around.

“It’s also setting a tone for the fact they go to a dance, they’ll feel like they can dance and not stand against a wall or sit in a chair,” he said.

Bolton said, as an assistant principal, he would like to see students getting their heart rate up and sweating rather than chugging a Mountain Dew and eating a Snickers candy bar on the way to school in the morning.

“You can’t wait until you’re 50 and decide to get in good shape … if you can start that when you’re five and six, and then when you get into that fifth and sixth grade level, people start becoming self aware,” he said.


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