Harmony Barck gets high off the ground during her Jump Rope for Heart event at Dix Street Elementary.
Otsego students have huge hearts! They show that in a number of ways throughout the year, but the latest, in Jump Rope and Hoops for Heart, they raised close to $20,000.

Otsego students are making an incredible donation to the American Heart Association thanks to generous family members and friends.

More than 350 students across the district jumped at the chance to help those suffering from heart disease. They participated in the Jump Rope for Heart and Hoops for Heart fundraiser to benefit the American Heart Association. Students took pledges and collected $19,248. “I think kids really like that they are helping others and they always enjoy jumping rope and shooting hoops,” says Dix Street PE teacher, Darcy Bentley.

Every other year, all three schools participate (Dix Street and Alamo participate annually) and it is always a successful effort, “I think it’s because it hits home for so many people,” Bentley says, “They know someone that has been affected by heart disease, a heart attack or a stroke.”

The buildings’ Physical Education teachers organize the fundraiser at their schools; they all agree it’s personal to a lot of people. “Heart problems/disorders affect so many of us close to home,” says Kyle Uramkin, PE teacher at Alamo Elementary.

The American Heart Association holds an assembly just before the donation drive starts to talk about the cause and, of course, the incentives and prizes. “Kids love the rewards! Prizes, goals, you name it,” adds Uramkin. This year’s assembly also featured a demonstration for the students on how their donations eventually get back to patients.

Alamo and Dix Street students take one of their PE times to participate in Jump Rope or Hoops for Heart. Washington Street Elementary holds an after-school event for all participants, “We usually have around 125 kids in the gym jumping rope, playing music and having tons of fun while raising money for such a great cause!,” says Washington Street Elementary PE Teacher, Amy Nieuwenhuis.