Kohala Elementary School students participate in the Jump Rope for Heart Program, raising money for the American Heart Association. (PHOTO BY ANNA PACHECO| SPECIAL TO NHN)
From left, fifth graders Zyan Caravalho and Javan Motta participate in Jump Rope for Heart at Kohala Elementary School. (PHOTO BY ANNA PACHECO| SPECIAL TO NHN)
Fifth grader, Laakea Mamala, participates in Jump Rope for Heart at Kohala Elementary School. (PHOTO BY ANNA PACHECO| SPECIAL TO NHN)
From left, Parker School fifth graders Riley Higgins and Cooper Callender jump rope together, with 10th grader Sean Dunnington, fifth grader Noelani Murray, and Mia Scibelli. (PHOTO BY LISA DAHM| NHN)
From left, Gracelyn Jardine and Malaya Hill of Parker School jump side-by-side, as Jordan Vedelli looks on during their Jump Rope for Heart event at the lower school. (PHOTO BY LISA DAHM| NHN)
Parker School 10th graders help with the lower school event. (PHOTO BY LISA DAHM| NHN)
Parker School third grader Sophie Weigle jumps on her own. (PHOTO BY LISA DAHM| NHN)
Betsy Tranquilli, Lower School physical education teacher at Hawaii Preparatory Academy, prepares students for the school’s Jump Rope for Heart event held on Feb. 14. HPA students raised more than $1,300 for the American Heart Association. (PHOTO BY COBEY DOI, COURTESY OF HPA FOR NHN)
KJ Walker, left, and Kanalu Shimizu, lower school students at Hawaii Preparatory Academy, show their stuff at the school’s Jump Rope for Heart event held Feb. 14. (PHOTO BY COBEY DOI, COURTESY OF HPA FOR NHN)
Students in four schools throughout North Hawaii learned valuable lessons supporting the American Heart Association’s Jump Rope for Heart in February.
During the national event, students raise pledges for the organization, spend time learning about their heart, the importance of exercise and eating right and, of course, how to jump rope.
Parker School students raised $7,210 for their Jump Rope for Heart event at the lower school on Feb. 28. Nicole Vedelli, physical education teacher at Parker School, said they started building heart healthy lessons into the curriculum months in advance.
Before the winter break, they began by doing a jump rope segment. They also learned about healthy eating, and made healthy snacks in class and played other fitness games.
Vedelli said she taught the students about the heart; they learned about heart disease and also about the work the American Heart Association does to help people, especially children with heart defects.
“It’s great because they actually know why they are doing the event,” Vedelli said of the students. “They can relate to it, not because they have hearts that need help, but because they are helping other children.”
The school had about 25 of their 10th grade students help at the lower school event.
“We wanted to integrate both schools more, so that the younger students can see the older students helping,” Vedelli said.
“They took charge of it and made it their own,” she said of the upper school students. “They took great responsibility and ownership in leading the stations for the younger students. “
Waimea Elementary School had their Jump Rope for Heart on Feb. 8. Carolyn Hess, Parent Community Networking coordinator, said the school raised $3,967.31 for the American Heart Association.
“We are very proud of them,” Hess said. “It is heart healthy and promotes exercise and eating right.”
Hess said they prepared the students ahead of the event.
“During every morning broadcast, (for about two weeks prior) the fifth grade did a heart fact of the day,” Hess said.
She said they also reviewed an American Heart Association video on jump rope techniques.
At Kohala Elementary, about 330 students, first through fifth graders, participated in the event at the school on Feb. 13. They raised $2,242.26.
“It was wonderful to see; everyone had a jump rope,” said Rosemae Watterson, counselor at Kohala Elementary. “It was fun.”
The event was part of their Healthy Lifestyles activities that includes hip hop dancing, creative movement, swimming, table tennis and other healthy activities throughout the year. Watterson said jumping rope is a skill all students can do without a lot of space.
“Everyone at home can get a jump rope and jump,” Watterson said.
Betsy Tranquilli, physical education for Hawaii Preparatory Academy, incorporated the Jump Rope for Heart into her health and physical education curriculum.
She said that everyone knows someone that is affected by heart disease, such as an auntie, uncle or other family member. She said it is important to teach children when they are young about how the heart works.
“It’s planting that seed in the students about how their bodies work and why it is important that they take care of their bodies,” Tranquilli said.
She said after participating in the Jump Rope for Heart, the students are excited about using the jump ropes on the playground.
“As a P.E. teacher, you love that – it is why we do this,” Tranquilli said. “It is a neat skill, and I love seeing the students’ progress.”
For more information on Jump Rope for Heart, visit their website at www.heart.org/jump.