Former Valley resident Jeff Suho is now 60 pounds lighter thanks to his determination and support from his second grade students. Suho, who moved to Virginia 7 years ago for a teaching job at Stonehouse Elementary School after attending Penn State main campus, began working with his students to help motivate them to live more healthy lives. Suho is an alumnus of Athens Area High School.

After working with children at the school soccer club, Suho realized his own shortcomings in health. Over the years with cupcake laden birthday parties for his students, and a general lack of exercise, Suho came to the conclusion he needed to make a change.

But this realization did not come until after he began preaching the importance of health and well being to his students. Suho says he simply needed to start practicing what he preached.

He formed a running club at the school which brought together over 80 students and adults to exercise on the school's running track each Tuesday and Thursday. Before Suho was aware of it, he had a personal exercise program and was feeling better than ever because of it.

Knowing that twice a week students were expecting him to be there running with them was just the accountability he needed to stay true to his regime.

He also began to make use of the healthy school lunches provided each day while he worked. This, he says, is one of the main reasons he lost the 60 pounds over the course of 10 months.

Suho soon found himself more interested in living a healthy lifestyle and helping kids do the same. He was asked by the school to become the wellness counselor, an offer that Suho accepted immediately. The new position gave him an even bigger drive to become healthy, as he was now representing the health of the entire school.

Now Suho is even more involved with the health of students, and has since become a wellness integration specialist for three elementary schools in the Williamsburg, Va. area.

In Sayre, Suho's parents are more than proud of his accomplishments over the last year and a half, with not only his weight but his career.

"Jeff inspired me to lose 27 pounds now with the help of a phone app which helps me track calories," Ruth Suho, Jeff's mother, said.

"I'm very happy that through his career change he is still able to work with kids. It's what he is best at and I know it's what he loves to do," his father Steve said.

Suho says that he has stopped counting calories since Christmas, but with the knowledge he has obtained is continuing to live a healthy life. He is also beginning to do more weight lifting in an attempt to gain more muscle mass, he said.

Most health experts agree that for a diet or exercise program to be successful, the person must have a change of lifestyle, not unrealistically force themselves to eat less calories. For Suho, the lines of career and health have blurred for the better, and he isn't planning on putting the weight back on anytime soon.

Tim Zyla can be reached at (570) 265-1634; or email: