Scarselli jumps for heart health |

Scarselli jumps for heart health

by Sarah Hauck
3rd grader Makayla Davis jumps through a Hula Hoop Friday during the Jump Rope For Life event at Scarselli Elementary.
Brad Coman |

Scarselli Elementary School students jumped, skipped and hula-hooped in support of heart health last week.

The cheetahs participated in various cardiovascular activities during their PE classes as part of the national Jump Rope for Heart campaign.

“This is really a two fold opportunity for me to teach these kids,” PE teacher Doug Odell said. “One, Jump Rope for Heart dovetails directly into what I am teaching the kids. It echoes the two tenants of the importance of a life time of cardio exercise and overall health and wellness. And the second part is to collect money for the American Heart Association. Most of these kids know someone who has had a heart attack or has a heart condition. There is that direct connection for a lot of them.”

Every year the American Heart Association hosts the community education program in an effort to educate children about the risk of cardiovascular-related ailments as well as promote a healthy life style.

Scarselli has participated in the national event for five years.

One third grader reached into his own pockets to help the cause

“I already have $50,” Luke Briggs said. “It is my own money. I really wanted to be able to help the people in the hospitals. Plus winning one of the big prizes like the tablet or headphones would be cool.”

Each student was sent home with a fundraising packet explaining that heart disease is the nation’s No. 1 killer.

The funds students raise will help with research for heart-related diseases.

Scarselli averages between $1,500-2,000 each year.

“Whenever I get ready to send in our donation I always think to myself, ‘Our donation is so small, I hope this is even helpful,’” Odell said. “Every time I do send it in though the Heart Association is so appreciative and accepting, always telling me that every little bit helps. They are always so genuinely thrilled.”

Although raising money is a large portion of Scarselli’s participation in the annual event, promoting exercise and healthy decisions is also part of it.

Luke enjoyed the Jump Rope for Heart day in PE because it got his body moving.

“I like this because I get to jump rope. It gets my heart beating a lot,” he said. “These things give you cardio and cardio is a good thing and of course you have to think of your diet.”

Students rotated through a trio of stations, which included skip-its, hula hoops, single person jump ropes and Double Dutch.

Odell said that the school’s participation teaches students more than awareness and life choices.

“This event teaches children compassion and empathy, character traits that involve helping other people, which is something not necessarily associated with PE,” he said. “The value of helping other people is so important. This is such a worthy program.”

For more information about the program or to make a donation visit