Students at Page Jackson Elementary School have a long history of jumping rope and for 29 years they’ve helped raise $152,125.46 for the American Heart Association. This year, students and staff raised $6,339.53.
The project was begun by William Reed, a former physical education teacher at the school more than a quarter of a century ago. It’s now sponsored by Jay Earl, who has taught gym for the past eight years. Both staff and students participate in the events.
Earl said the students learn during February about heart disease, the effects of exercise on the heart, the importance of being aware of heart problems, the symptoms of heart problems — including how they manifest differently between men and women — the causes of strokes and heart attacks, and other heart-related information. During physical education classes each day, students jump rope, hence the name “Jump Rope for Heart.”
To enhance the project and to raise students’ interest, two incentives help inspire them to raise money. This year 76 students who raised $20 were given permission to cover Earl with Silly String.
Students who raised $100 participated in a group photo. Twenty-nine students were a part of the $100 club this year. One student raised more than $700.
Earl said the community support for the project is outstanding, and the students come away from the effort with an appreciation of the importance of exercise and proper diet for a healthy heart.
“I’m proud of the students this year for their unselfishness and dedication to the project,” Earl said. “They really understand that the money is going to help someone and that they are not doing it for the prizes or incentives. I’m impressed with their awareness of the importance of knowing about heart problems and preventive measures to protect themselves and others.”