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Eric Ekis, a teen struggling with obesity, is beginning to feel like he’s not alone as his friends, and one English teacher in particular, are helping the young man get into shape.

“I met Eric the first day of school when it was kind of unfortunate when he came into my class and he immediately — he broke the desk,” Don Wettrick, a Franklin High School teacher, told the Indy Star.

The teacher invited the 14-year-old to exercise with him in the mornings. And though Eric initially declined the offer, the teen broke down in tears one day when Mr. Wettrick asked him “When did you give up?”

The student’s reply? “When my dad died.”

The conversation was a turning point for Eric, who now works with classmate Kevin Stahl on a special project aimed at healthy living. In addition to implementing an exercise regiment, the duo consulted an area dietician to overhaul Eric’s diet.

“At first, you didn’t notice a huge difference; but now he can run and he looks healthier,” Kevin told the Indy Star.

For Eric, the adjustments have given him confidence.

“It’s made me happy because, I mean, I was just that one kid that always hid from everything and, like, had the occassional friend that would help out. And now that everyone’s started helping me, I feel a whole lot better now,” he said, adding he hopes kids like him get similar help.

“I hope that really it just helps other kids like me out there. And I hope that some teacher reads or hears this and really just steps up and makes a change for a child.”


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