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Santee Students 'Jump Rope for Heart'

This is the first year that all Santee School District schools will participate in the American Heart Association's Jump Rope for Heart program.

Santee schoolchildren helped raise awareness for healthy hearts on .

On Monday, Santee School District schools began participating in Jump Rope for Heart, which benefits the American Heart Association.

The event helps raise funds for research and education initiatives to reduce the number of people, young and old, affected by heart disease,  stroke and congenital heart defects.

helped launch Jump Rope for Heart for the district. Other schools will participate through Feb. 25.

Preschool through eight-grade students jumped in three different shifts. Children participated in a variety of different activities, including individual jump roping, hurdle jumping, hopscotching, hula hoop jumping and Chinese jump roping.

“I like that when we’re jump roping, it’s really fun,” said Alex Cooper, a second grader at Hill Creek.

This is the first year that all district schools will participate in the program.  was the first school to participate in Jump Rope for Heart in 1993.

“Since then, other schools have 'jumped' on board as well,” said Dr. Laura Spencer, the coordinator of instructional technology for the district. “As of the end of last year, we have raised a grand total of $95,026.90 for the American Heart Association.”

The district’s wellness committee helped facilitate this year’s event. Part of the district’s goal is to have district office personnel also participate by attending at least one school’s event.

In addition to benefiting the American Heart Association, the event also promotes a healthy lifestyle.

“This is one way, again, just to make sure that kids are aware they should be doing 60 minutes everyday of moderate to vigorous activity,” said Kristin Baranski, the district’s director of educational services. “Jumping would be an easy way to do that.”

First grader Ryan Murphy said he enjoyed all of the activities, but especially hopscotch.  

“It just gives you a lot of energy,” he said. “It just really keeps us healthy and you just get a lot of energy.

First grader Angelina Bertino said her favorite part was jumping on one foot.

“It’s fun because you get to jump all different ways,” she said.

Elena Bertino, a parent volunteer and Angelina’s mother, said she likes that Jump Rope for Heart also encourages children to help others.

“It teaches the kids to be a part of something,” she said. “I try to teach her to volunteer and help others.”

Parent volunteer Trina Reyes and her family recently moved to Santee. It was her daughters’ first time participating in the event.  

“I think it’s awesome,” said Reyes, who is the mother of fourth grader Alyssa and sixth grader Alexis. “I think it gets the kids involved in helping children who can’t be out there, who can’t jump.”

Alyssa agreed with her mom. 

“I liked it because it showed that we were helping people, but we were still having fun,” Alexis said. “I would recommend this event to someone else because it helps people and it is easy to raise money.” 

This year, sailors from Naval Base San Diego partnered with Hill Creek to support the event. 

“It gives a chance for military members to interact with the students and the students and staff to get support,” said Navy School Liaison Officer Chanin Massagila, who added that this is the first time the command has ever volunteered at Hill Creek.

In addition to staff and parents, 13 Navy personnel helped stage and organize the activities.

“It’s awesome for the little kids to be jumping around,” said Erika Uotani, who helped organize the Navy volunteers. “Navy is fitness and schools are fitness, too.”

In addition to Hill Creek, participated in Jump Rope for Heart on Monday. participated on Tuesday, and Academy participated on Wednesday. and will join in on Feb. 18, on Feb. 23, Pepper Drive on Feb. 24 and on Feb. 25.

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