State College Area School District elementary students packed it up, packed it in the gym at the high school’s North Building and jumped around to combat heart disease Sunday afternoon at the 15th annual Jump Rope for Heart event.
Between 300 and 500 students from second through fifth grade take part each year, said Andy Lloyd, a physical education teacher at Gray’s Woods and Ferguson Township. Students are divided into two- or three-person teams, and the objective is to have one member of the team jumping for 30 minutes. Participants also raise money for the American Heart Association. Lloyd, who has been involved in every outing, said a milestone could be reached for donations when this year’s totals are counted and added to the previous numbers.
“We’re getting close to half a million dollars,” Lloyd said. “We might break it this year.”
In the weeks leading up to the jump, students learned about the dangers of heart disease and ways to lessen the risks of heart attack and stroke, health and physical education department coordinator Steve Kurzinger said. One such way is exercise.
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One participant, Lake Black, a fourth-grader from Radio Park Elementary School, not only jumped but hopped on one foot and ran in place as she flicked the rope through the air. Besides education, students had also been practicing jumping rope during gym class, Kurzinger said.
A total for this year’s donations and whether the $500,000 was raised will not be known until later this week, Lloyd said.