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Hilltop's Jump Rope for Heart Event Doubles Fundraising Goal

April 13, 2017 — Hilltop Primary School students wrapped up their Jump Rope for Heart fundraiser on March 17 and more than doubled their goal of $5,000, raising an incredible $10,194 for the American Heart Association (AHA).

"I am so excited and pleased to share that Team Hilltop—the students, staff, parents and other stakeholders—stepped up and rang the bell," said physical education teacher Sean Ryther. "We believed that we could make a difference, and we did!"

Thanks to the efforts of Team Hilltop, over 200 lives will be positively impacted by the generous donation. The Jump Rope for Heart service learning activity raised awareness about heart health, in addition to raising lifesaving funds for the AHA.

"It’s a great experience when students start to realize that the event, and the reason we raise awareness and money, is greater than themselves," Ryther said. "It is about helping those who have heart issues and hopefully bringing a message of encouragement to those we know and love about the importance of taking care of our hearts."

Jump Rope for Heart

Click the above image for more photos of the Jump Rope for Heart event by Hilltop staff

Last year’s event raised $4,350, so the school set a modest goal of $5,000 this year. AHA Director Shannon Lorenz came out to Hilltop for the kickoff event to share a message with students and get them excited to go out and be difference-makers.

The theme this year was "Zoo Crew - Going Wild for Heart Health." Students associated each of six animals with a specific health message. They earned badges, which they wore with pride, for raising specific amounts of money for AHA.

"We spent several weeks really focusing on the importance of having a healthy heart and ways we can improve our heart health," said Ryther. Physical education lessons revolved around healthy habits like exercising 60 minutes per day, eating fruits and vegetables daily, and drinking water instead of sugary drinks.  

Hilltop Principal Mike Moch offered a heart health fact every morning during the announcements to help educate students and encourage them to take active roles in their own health. Many students bought into the heart health messages by pledging to challenge themselves and challenging family members and friends to do the same. The students also got excited about a Heart Hero Wall, where they could dedicate their efforts in memory or honor of a loved one, or make their own pledges to be a "heart hero."

The final celebration after the four-week drive included nine jumping-related stations where students had fun with their friends and improved their heart health at the same time. A visit from Rory the Lion was the students' reward for making their goal. "Rory was a huge hit with the students," Ryther said.

Ryther said he truly believes the message of living a healthy life and taking care of your heart was implanted in the minds and hearts of the students. "We need to draw a line in the sand and make a decision if we want to choose health or not," he told his students. "The choices we make now will affect our lives later."

Ryther thanked everyone who made this life-changing impact. "I am honored to be part of a school community that is so willing to go the extra mile and impact the lives of others," he said. "The message of fitness and health is spoken loud and clear for our future leaders at Hilltop."