East students jump on fund-raiser

There weren't any broken hearts at East Elementary School on Valentine's Day. In fact, this is the third year that students have met heart-health fitness goals for themselves and the American Heart Association.

Students have collected more than $1,200 in pledges in the Jump Rope for Heart challenge. Their goal was $1,000.

"This is in conjunction with a program to promote healthy hearts and exercises that lead to healthy hearts," East Elementary School physical education teacher Brett Sperl said.

Third- and fourth-grade students collected the pledges, but the entire school participated in the fitness challenge Monday. Each student spent five minutes running laps, jumping lines or ropes, shooting hoops and walking. Their goals were 10 laps, 100 jumps, 20 hoops and 1,000 steps.

This will be the third year students have met both their physical and financial goals.

"They really get into it," Sperl said. "The quality of the kids' jumping has really improved with this program."

Raising $1,500 gives them a gift certificate, which last year they used to purchase an Ollie the Octopus volleyball game. Sperl expects donations to top $1,500 again this year when all are collected.

"It's really tough to ask the community for much," he said, "but they really come through for us."

Ridgeview Elementary School students also participate in the Jump Rope for Heart but chose to do their program in March.

On Tuesday night, parents learned firsthand how physical their students get.

As part of a goal to increase communication and parental involvement, Sperl hosted the second Family Fun Fitness Night. More than 170 parents showed up last month for miniature marble golf, but the tasks were a bit harder Tuesday.

Parents participated in a fitness course that included doing push ups, jumping rope, stair climbing, laps, doing situps and chinups.

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