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Westside student jump rope for heart health

Westside Elementary students Ayden Schmidt, left, Cooper Snyder and Logan Heger were honored on Friday for the money they raised for the “Jump Rope for Heart” program. Daniel Determan / Pioneer

In late February, Westside Elementary students participated in the "Jump Rope for Heart" fundraising event, promoting heart health and community service as well as raising money for research and educational programs.

On Friday, the top three money-raising students were honored in the Westside gymnasium.

Ayden Schmidt, Cooper Snyder and Logan Heger received certificates from principal Tabatha Joyce in recognition of the money they raised, both door-to-door and online. Heger, after raising $755, was the top collector for the school for the third consecutive year.

"We are extremely proud of Logan," said Heather Heger, Logan mother. "He has surprised us in his drive to get out there and raise this money. He says that he does this for people who have heart problems, including his Grandma. He has a very kind heart and wants to be able to help people in whatever way he can."

"I think Logan did such a good jump collecting the first year that when he got the medal, he was driven to continue doing it," Phy. Ed. Teacher Dianne Loberg said.

Overall, the Westside students raised $5,602 total, $2,330 of which was raised online.

Loberg and fellow Phy. Ed. teacher Justin Behm, who are in charge of the fundraiser at Westside, gave students one month to raise money for the event.

"First of all, they are shown a video about kids their age - sometimes younger - who have survived heart issues that needed surgeries," Loberg said. "When the kids see how this affects young ones, it becomes real to them."

After the money is raised, they then host a "rope-a-thon," where students jump rope in various stations that sees them jumping to music or with partners, among other things.

While this a fun event for the students, the lessons learned far outweigh the recreational aspect.

"I see the program as a way to teach kids to keep their hearts healthy. With kids this age, students' life expectancy is shorter than their parents, so it is important to teach them to keep themselves healthy. It also teaches them about giving back. Sometimes we get caught up in 'what's in it for me?' and this is a way to teach the kids to give back to the community. That is a very good thing."