BONNERS FERRY -- When school dismissed last Thursday afternoon from Valley View Elementary School, Mrs. Petesch welcomed students and volunteers back into the gymnasium. The sound of laughter and a few dozen red and white plastic jump ropes grazing the floor filled the gym as students participated in the 39th annual Jump Rope For Heart fundraiser.
Promoted by the American Heart Association, fifty Valley View students elevated their heart rates, earned prizes, and raised support while jump roping. This year, Valley View Elementary students managed to raise well over $1,600.
Many students and parents look forward to the annual Jump Rope For Heart event. This is the fourth year of participation for Josie Cartwright who believes the event, “Is important.”
Natalie Erickson, mother of three participants from kindergarten to fourth grade, appreciates the school function because, “It’s talked about in class, it’s fun, and the activity (of jump roping) backs it up.”
Under Mrs. Petesch’s experienced leadership, students and volunteers spent an energizing forty-five minutes at a variety of jump stations, including hopscotch, “heart jump” (jumping as high as possible to stick a heart on the gym wall) and a competition to see who could jump continuously the longest (excellent job, Ivan Cartwright, from Mrs. Perez’s fourth grade class for jumping the longest!).
Halfway through the event, students took a snack break and prizes were raffled off thanks to Mrs. Petesch’s planning and partnership with Valley View’s Parent Teacher Organization.
Kindergarten through third grade students surveyed throughout the event unanimously wanted to “have fun” and “hang-out with friends,” but the students’ understanding about the cause they supported was intriguing.
Logan Brinkman, from Mr. Miller’s third grade class, stated that he participated because, “Kids could die if they don’t have the equipment to save them.”
Kale, a second-grade student from Mrs. Tyler’s class, matter-of-factly stated that students participate, “So we can be strong.”
Other responses included, “Get my heart rate up so I don’t get fat” and “Save people from dying.” Students clearly internalized Mrs. Petesch’s message that fitness is important to healthy living.
Though students couldn’t significantly elaborate on heart disease or the AHA, they displayed huge hearts and evidence that those we respect influence our perspective. Because students esteem Mrs. Petesch and the time she takes to teach them how to care for their bodies and stay physically fit, they are naturally excited to participate in events like Jump Rope For Heart. Students believe their physical support and the monies raised make a difference and help other kids.
The American spirit of caring for others in practical ways continues to grow among the younger generations.