Elementary Students Get Ready To Jump With Heart

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Jumping rope is more than something little girls do just for fun.

The children in local elementary schools have rapidly swung ropes over their heads and under their feet for more than two decades in support of the American Cancer Society's Jump Rope for Heart.

Children at Payson, Frontier and Julia Randall Elementary schools are in a friendly competition with one another.

"On a particular day, two of the schools will have to cheer the winning school's colors at an assembly," JRE physical education teacher, Donna Moore, said.

Adult civic organizations in Payson are well-known for their fund-raising abilities.

In 2007, students raised almost $30,000 during the Jump Rope for Heart campaign.

PES sent the heart association checks totaling $14,684. FES sent $4,600 and JRE sent in $10,398.

This year, the top dollar earner from JRE will be able to throw a cream pie in Principal Rob Varner's face.

And, if JRE students meet their goal of $15,000, Varner will shave his head.

Good deeds have a way of rippling outward.

"We really stress to the children the importance of giving back to the community," Moore said.

Several years ago, a fourth-grade boy at JRE brought a note from his doctor that he could not participate in P.E. because of his heart condition.

Surgery on one of his heart valves made it possible for him to have limited participation in Jump Rope for Heart event four months later.

"I spoke to the boy's doctor and he said that because of events like Jump Rope for Heart, scientists are able to do research that saves children's lives," Moore said.

Student participants receive thank you gifts, from AHA based on the money they raise.

In addition, teachers who coordinate individual events often call businesses for prize donations and professional sports teams are always on Moore's call list.

"The community has been wonderful," Moore said.

PES' event will take up a good share of the day on Feb. 13. JRE will host their event during P.E. classes the week of Feb. 25 and Frontier students will be jumping to get their hearts pumping on March. 6.

There are contests for who jumps the longest, contests for tricks, and contests by classroom.

Some children have signed up to raise money for AHA online. Those children will e-mail people they know to ask for donations. Learn more at: http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=2360.

"The kids need your help to get this done," Moore said.

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