Howard students raise $6K for American Heart Association

Published 12:20 pm Monday, April 4, 2016

Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT

Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT

One by one, dozens of Howard Elementary School students lined up Friday morning to squirt globs of ketchup and mustard all over a popular second grade teacher wearing a hot dog suit.

It was the final day before spring break and the children were being rewarded for raising a record amount of money for the American Heart Association through the Jump Rope for Heart fitness program.

The teacher, Monty Ort, used swimming goggles to cover his eyes. It was a smart move because by the time students were finished unloading the condiments, Ort’s face was dripping with red and yellow.

“We probably should have given him nose plugs,” said Sunni Rossi, regional vice president for the American Heart Association.

The temporary discomfort seemed to be worth it.

The Niles school’s ninth annual Jump Rope for Heart event was the most successful by far.

Students raised $6,000 — more than $1,000 increase over last year’s total of around $4,700.

Rossi said the school’s performance is noteworthy because the average school nationwide raises approximately $3,000.

“This is well and above that,” she said, adding that the money would go toward funding lifesaving heart and stroke research in addition to community and educational programs for youth.

The Jump Rope for Heart program teaches students how physical fitness benefits the heart and shows them that volunteering can be a fun and positive experience for everyone.

Students were taught the importance of regular exercise, eating healthy, limiting salt intake and avoiding tobacco use.

Student Adonis Gross was recognized for raising the most money among the students, while Mrs. Sormin’s class raised the most money among classrooms.