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Jumping for Health

Dranesvile Elementary’s fund-raiser benefits American Heart Association.

Dranesville Elementary School students participated in a jump-rope marathon to raise funds for the American Heart Association and, at the same time, honor their classmate, second grader Hunzallah Riaz, who received a heart transplant as an infant.

“We wanted students to learn that the American Heart Association is a philanthropic association and that heart issues affect people close to them. That’s why we decided to honor a fellow student that had a heart transplant,” said George Garlick, a physical education teacher at Dranesville Elementary.

For approximately an hour and a half, students jump-roped and learned about the heart and health. Lessons involved topics such as heart health, good nutrition, heart facts, heart disease, heart attacks and no smoking. To visually explain to the children the way the heart functions, Garlick asked children to squeeze a tennis ball in order to understand the amount of force the heart exerts. Garlick also asked students to try and estimate how many times the heart would beat for the entire month of March. Their findings revealed that the heart beats approximately 2 1/2 million times in one month.

“Creative incentives were also set in order to motivate students to learn about heart health and raise more funds”, said Garlick. For Garlick, this meant being taped to the wall if the students raised a significant amount of money, which they did. In fact a total of $4,520 was raised; the most ever raised for the American Heart Association by Dranesville Elementary.

Garlick explained that some teacher’s even set dying their hair or creating a mohawk as incentives for the students. “It makes the whole event more fun,” said Garlick.

All grade levels, kindergarten through sixth grade, participated in the event that took place from Feb. 20-23. The collection for envelope donations lasted for about a three-week period following the marathon. Not all students participated in both activities but all participated in the jump-rope and health activities.