KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A group of Independence students are home for the summer 500 pounds lighter. The eight teenagers spent the spring semester at Mindstream Academy, a weight loss school in South Carolina. While at the academy the teens learned how to create healthy lifestyle habits, plus multiple exercise sessions per day.
Tammy Orie last saw her 13-year-old Malik Hart back in January, he weighed 267 pounds. When they hugged at the Kansas City International Airport, Hart was 77 pounds thinner. Hart said at times, he really missed home.
"It was tough but I fought through it and pushed through it," said Hart. The 13-year-old football player added it was worth it.
"I feel good, it changed me a lot, I feel like a new person," said Hart.
Some of the students spent the fall and spring semester at Mindstream, Sarah Jones is one them. Jones lost 107 pounds while at Mindstream. Her mother Diana Jones says she got a phone call from her daughter after she graduated from the program.
"She (Sarah) said I wanted to take a minute and say thank you, you saved my life. I really think that we did," said Diana Jones.
Teah Gentry also spent eight months in the program, now she's reached her goal weight.
"It feels amazing to say that I've lost 100 pounds because I never would have thought that in eight months I could lose 100 pounds and I did," said Gentry.
During the first semester, participating students lost 619.2 pounds and 504.40 pounds during the second for a total of more than 1,123 pounds.
For a semester the cost is $28,000 per student. The state pays under $6,000 per student and the rest is covered by the families and private donations.