Jumping For A Cause

FALCONER – Students at Harvey C. Fenner Elementary had an opportunity to take some time out of their day for jumping.

For the 25th time, the school participated in its annual Jump Rope for Heart event – which serves as a fundraiser for the American Heart Association.

On Thursday, more than 270 third-, fourth- and fifth-graders put their jumping skills to the test, participating as teams in a series of 10 jump rope and jumping activities including: a jump-a-thon, in which team members alternate using jump ropes in 30-second intervals; a hoppity ball team-jump relay; a hula hoop team-jump relay; a long double-dutch jump rope relay; a “Jake the Snake” team relay, in which students jump over a ball attached by string to a stick; and a triple long jump.

The event was coordinated by Darin Kennedy, Fenner’s physical education teacher, who said that Jump Rope for Heart is a unique fundraiser.

“It’s the one community fundraiser that we choose to do here at Harvey C. Fenner through the physical education program,” said Kennedy, who has been with the Falconer Central School district for 17 years. “Mary Jane Pond previously started Jump Rope for Heart here at Harvey C. Fenner, and when I started teaching here, I jumped on board with it at Temple Elementary School. When she retired, I moved from Temple to teach (at Fenner), and I just continued it here.”

In the time that Falconer has participated in Jump Rope for Heart, both Fenner and Temple schools have raised a grand total of more than $215,000 for the AHA – which breaks down to approximately $8,600 per year. Kennedy said that the average amount raised has been slightly decreasing recently, in accordance with the district’s enrollment numbers.

“There have been years where there was $8,000 and $9,000 (raised) between Temple and Fenner, and for the most part, it’s between $3,000 and $4,000 per school,” he said. “Our (enrollment) numbers have dropped. We used to have 110-120 (students) in a class, and now it’s between 80-90.”

While the students don’t go door to door to raise funds, Kennedy said that they can request donations from family members, have their parents take donations at their places of business and can send emails through the AHA’s website and the district’s website.

“It’s not like they raise 5 cents per jump, or anything like that,” he said. “It’s just a flat donation, and the American Heart Association sends thank-you gifts in May or June to all the kids who helped raise funds for people who have sick hearts.”

When the jumping was over, the total amount of money raised was tallied. The Fenner students raised a total of $3,347.20. The class that raised the most money was Jackie Bohall’s third-grade class, with a $575 total. Emily Melquist, of Carole Garrison’s third-grade class, brought in the most money from an individual student with $150. Because Temple’s Jump Rope for Heart event will go through today, its final numbers have not yet been tallied.

Jump Rope for Heart is a national program jointly sponsored by the American Heart Association and the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education and Dance. Its goal is to contribute to the fight against heart disease and stroke – the nation’s No. 1 and No. 3 killers, respectively.

The event at Temple was coordinated by P.J. Wendel, Temple’s physical education teacher. Kennedy and Wendel wish to thank the school’s PTO members and staff, community members, parents, 3C’s Catering and the students.

“We are a small community with a big heart when it comes to fundraising,” said Kennedy.