School raises more than $30,000 through Jump Rope for Heart

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published February 22, 2016

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Continuing a tradition started by gym teacher Lisa Pecoraro, students at Violet Elementary spent a day jump roping for health this month.

Students donned red in honor of the American Heart Association and spent the day jumping, skipping and more Feb. 12 to celebrate the money they had raised for the AHA in 2016. The school has participated in Jump Rope for Heart annually since about 2000, when Pecoraro joined the school staff. It was about the same time that she lost her grandmother to heart disease.

Since then, the school and its students have celebrated Jump Rope for Heart and learned about how to keep their hearts and bodies healthy and how to help those with heart disease.

“They do an outstanding job of educating students about heart disease and what they can do now to take care of their hearts,” said Cheryl Muscott, senior youth market director with the American Heart Association.

Violet Elementary raised more than $30,000 for the American Heart Association through Jump Rope for Heart this year, and even though the school has just 470 students, it is usually in the top ranks of fundraising schools throughout the state. The final fundraising total was not available because donations typically continue to come in even after the Jump Rope for Heart event, Muscott said.

Principal Elizabeth Netschke said the school was No. 2 in the state in 2015 and first in 2014.

“Year after year after year, the community comes together to support this cause,” she said. “We have a very giving community. The kids get so behind it and they learn so much.”

By focusing on heart health and healthy habits, Netschke said they are hoping to make a difference in students’ lives for the long term.

“They make a connection with their own families. They really understand,” she said. “They look forward to it every year.”

The average Macomb County school raises $2,800 each year through Jump Rope for Heart, Muscott said.

In addition to jumping rope, students in each grade at Violet Elementary learned about healthy foods and healthy habits in the cafeteria. Then, during a schoolwide assembly at the end of the day, the top jumpers of the day got to show off their tricks, like jumping with a friend, jump roping while doing a front walkover, or swinging the rope from side to side with one hand in between jumps.

Jump Rope for Heart is now the American Heart Association’s biggest annual fundraiser in Michigan, helped by the fact that students earn small “Lifesaver Pups” they can wear on lanyards for meeting certain fundraising goals.

“They are amazing,” Muscott said. “It’s my favorite event. They’re like a family at this school.”

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