Cedar Mountain hosts heart challenge

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  • A First Grade girl uses the skip-it wand.

  • PHOTOS BY VERA OLINSKI From left, Megan Minter holds the "climb it" net for Christopher.

  • Students avoid alligators at the balance station.

  • A young man gets ready to choose a prize.

  • A First Grade class poses with their Heart Association Certificates.

  • On left, Denise Clarke holds the "climb it" net.

During the week of Feb. 11, Cedar Mountain Primary School held the Kids Heart Challenge in order to raise funds for the Heart Association.

Physical Education Teacher Michele Gonnelli raffled many prizes for the children during each gym class. Before pulling two raffle names, she asked each class, “Do we cry if our name is not called?”

One little boy took her words to heart and clapped enthusiastically when another little boy won the raffle.

In honor of the Kids Heart Challenge, Gonnelli’s students ran through five different stations: jump rope, skip-it wands, “climb it” net, balance station, and snake rope – two students slithered a jump rope on the ground as others jumped over without touching.

While explaining how the snake rope worked, she asked, “Do snakes fly? Keep the rope on the ground at all times.”

Gonnelli called out, during warm-up, to the many students dressed-up as 100 year-old people in honor of the 100th day at school, “Come on, old people. Let’s get moving!”

At the end of warm-up, each child put one hand on his/her heart and showed the heart beat speed by opening and closing the other hand. She asked, “Is your heart beating fast?”

Next, at the balance station, Gonnelli warned, “Try not getting eaten by alligators.”

Students balanced well around the alligators, even with their 100 year-old plastic glasses and bathrobes.

In between jumping rope, a little girl talked about how her grandmother had taught her how to do sign language.

Each child then received a certificate saying, “Thank you for being a heart hero!” — by exercising and keeping their hearts healthy; and the children who collected money received a certificate saying, “Thank you for helping others in need.”

Gonnelli explained to the students that all the money they raised goes to friends who may have sick hearts.

Children and their families had signed up to raise money on-line. First grader Christopher had already raised $135 at the beginning of the week.

Last year Gonnelli’s classes had raised around $5,000. This year, she said, they were on track with over $4,000 on-line at the beginning of the week, without adding in cash and check donations, due Friday for the Heart Association.

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