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Students hop to help hearts
Fundraiser aids American Heart Association
0206 jump rope 2
Button Gwinnett first-graders in Janel Andrews class jump rope Tuesday during physical education in advance of the schools next week. - photo by Photo by Danielle Hipps

Liberty students soon may showcase their best one-hops, alternating jumps, side straddles and double unders when taking part in the American Heart Association’s Jump Rope for Heart.
Joseph Martin and Button Gwinnett elementary schools both will participate this month in the action-oriented fundraiser to observe American Heart Month.
BGE physical-education teacher Marbi Begg said she’s used the event as a catalyst for conversations about heart issues in health and PE classes, where students have been jumping for practice and to build their endurance in advance of the Feb. 14 event.
“We do a few health lessons on that, we have stethoscopes, we listen to our hearts, ... and then my PE lesson is jumping rope, so we work on our endurance and our fitness,” Begg said. Though only third- through fifth-graders will raise funds, all classes are sitting in on the lessons.
Button Gwinnett students are in their third week of fundraising, and Begg said they have a $2,500 goal. Last year, they raised $1,900.
“It’s, you know, asking your moms and your dads and your aunts and your uncles, because heart disease has touched almost any family,” she said, adding that when she first began the initiative, she was shocked to see that children could raise so much.
At Button Gwinnett, students will get to jump for about an hour, during which they stand to receive door prizes and recognition if they are jumping in honor of someone with heart disease or in memory of someone who suffered such issues.
“The biggest purpose is for children with healthy hearts to jump rope and raise money for those who can’t jump themselves,” Begg said. “And we focus on children because they can relate to that.
“Since we have healthy hearts, we’re going to jump rope and make our hearts even healthier and strengthen our lungs and build endurance,” she added.
Joseph Martin Elementary this week is celebrating Jump Rope for Heart week under the direction of JME physical-education teacher Shirley Tuck, who said students jump during their PE classes.
“It’s part of a celebration. They just get to jump for fun; we play music and jump rope and dance and do whatever excites them,” Tuck said. “They jump rope for fun, to music, and they have a demonstration video of jump-rope skills that they try, and they bring some of the old with the new.”
Each grade level raises money at JME, where Tuck began kindergarten classes Tuesday with warm-up laps, sit-ups and push-ups before students started jumping to pop hits.
Each celebration begins with a heart fact, and the students have the whole week to turn in their money.  
“Our goal is $5,000, so we set it pretty high,” she said. “It’s a stretch — the likelihood is that we won’t make it, but they can feel very good with the amount that we’ve earned. We’ve earned about $3,000 for the last three years, so as long as we get $3,000, we’ll be good.”

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