Riders Jump For Others

ST. MARYS — For the past few days, local elementary students have been raising money for a national organization and engaging in a little friendly competition.

Students in Sue Grothause’s physical education classes at St. Marys Intermediate School have collected donations the past few weeks and this week have had jump roping competitions starting Monday as part of Jump Rope for Heart.

“As a total, we’ve raised $3,140,” Grothause said. “Everything goes to the American Heart Association.”

Grothause noted her top two students who brought in the most donations — Tabitha McAnally, a third-grade student in Mrs. Johns’ class, who netted the most with $175 donations and Jordan Pruitt, a fifth-grade student in Mrs. Knapke’s class, who netted $140 in donations.

“We get a banner every year,” Grothause said, noting the colorful banners hanging on the wall in the intermediate school gymnasium. “The kids always look forward to getting the banner — they always wonder what color it’s going to be. They get excited.”

To receive a banner, the school has to raise $1,500.

“Every $1,000 we bring in, we get a gift certificate to USA Games that we can use to buy equipment,” Grothause said, noting with the money earned from the competition in the past, the school has purchased Nerf dodgeballs, hula hoops, a parachute and awards for the students, which Grothause gives out for sportsmanship or competitions. “Not only does it benefit the American Heart Association, but it also benefits the PE department because we get to get new equipment for class.”

To prepare for this week’s competitions, the students have spent the last few weeks learning approximately 50 different jumps — such as single jumps, double jumps, skier jumps, bell jumps and side straddles.

“Right before Easter break we do contests with the kids,” Grothause said. “We do a around 10 or 12 different jumps and see who can do it the longest.”

Monday through Wednesday this week, the students who jumped the longest received their pick of a prize, including jump ropes, wrist bands, pencils, keychains and various little toys. The students who didn’t win still took home a bookmark and a sticker from Jump Rope for Heart.

While Grothause has done Jump Rope for Heart with her students at St. Marys Intermediate School in the past, she noted this school year was the St. Marys Primary School’s first year participating in Jump Rope for Heart.

“The primary school raised $2,200 this year, which is really good for their first year doing it,” she said.