Feet were jumping, hearts were pumping and music was thumping for six days at Providence Spring Elementary, where kids were skipping rope to raise money for the American Heart Association.
The kids' efforts Feb. 3-11 brought in $16,208.45 for the organization, placing the school fifth among online-fundraising schools participating in the 2010-11 Jump Rope for Heart event.
It's a cause the students can relate to, thanks to discussions in their classes about children just like them who have problems with their hearts.
The American Heart Association sponsors Jump Rope for Heart events nationwide, and according to the organization's website it uses the money "to help pay for new medicines for kids with special hearts and to help doctors discover new medicines and treatments." In addition, the events promote heart health and an active lifestyle for people of all ages.
Providence Spring physical education teacher Lindsay Maxson set up a variety of stations using jump ropes and hula hoops in creative ways to keep the students moving and having fun.
Maxson challenged each class to see who could sweat the most, and the kids got into it, often asking parent volunteers, "Is this a lot of sweat?"
Third- through fifth-graders competed to see who could jump rope the longest without a miss, in a measure of endurance, often jumping continuously for 10 or 15 minutes (the school record is an astounding 49 minutes).
All grades competed in the popular Hot Pepper contest, which measured how many jumps are completed in one minute. Second-grader Brandon Kim set a new record for his age group this year, with an incredible 167 jumps.
All the students participate in the activities as part of their weekly physical education class, but fundraising for the February event was voluntary. Those who chose to participate were encouraged to register with the American Heart Association online so donations could be submitted electronically.
Providence Spring had more than 120 students initiate Internet fundraising by sending out more than 1,200 e-mails to friends and family. US Games, a business that provides physical education products for elementary schools, rewarded the students' marketing skills with a $300 check for new physical education equipment.
Leading the school in fundraising was third-grader Jake Weinbrenner, who raised $700. Fourth-grade student Sage Chernalis was second with $466, followed by first-grader McKinley Schuster with $365.