Skip to main content
Skip to navigation
University of Missouri

Moving Right Along

Student-athletes teach grade schoolers about health.

Mizzou Moves

Tight end Jake Hurrell demonstrates the broad jump for Fairview Elementary School students as gymnast Blair Elmore observes. Photo by Rob Hill.

“Does anyone know what happens when you don’t drink enough water?” inquires Mizzou gymnast Katelyn Trevino (Dallas).

“Um, you die?” guesses a precocious first-grade boy, one of about 30 Fairview Elementary School students at Mizzou Moves. The program, a partnership among the College of Education, Mizzou Athletics and Columbia Public Schools, sends MU student-athletes to Columbia schools to teach youngsters about health and fitness. Throughout the day, more than 50 Mizzou representatives from 14 sports break into groups to teach about nutrition, fitness and fun.

Each station includes an activity, such as situps or broad jump, to go with a letter from the mnemonic device, FASTER. The acronym stands for Fill up with fruits and vegetables, Always hydrate, Start with breakfast, Think lean protein, Eat often, and Rest and recover. The student-athletes then present the information in a relatable way, such as comparing dehydrated muscles to beef jerky and hydrated muscles to a juicy steak.

“We use words like ‘nutrition’ or ‘hydrate,’ and they might not fully understand what those words mean,” says Trevino, a redshirt senior pursuing a positive coaching master’s degree in the College of Education.

By the end of the session, redshirt freshman wrestler Cody Hummer (Savannah, Mo.) bounced with enthusiasm, and freshman golfer Linus Lilliedahl (Sandviken, Sweden) distributed high-fives while the energetic pupils giggled their way through a basketball relay.

“It’s good for the younger kids to see the excitement these athletes have about eating healthy and exercising,” says Andy Wright, physical education teacher at Fairview. “They hear it and see it from me all the time, but sometimes when you get it from the same person, it might not sink in.”