It’s become an annual tradition for Waterloo elementary school students, and this year’s event didn’t disappoint.
Led by program emcee Josh Hogan, students and teachers at Rogers and Gardner elementary schools had a doggone good time celebrating yet another record amount raised for the American Heart Association through its “Jump Rope For Heart” physical fitness effort.
The theme for this year’s assembly was “Puppy Pull Races” and included a demonstration by the Purina Pro Plan Performance Team in which world champion dogs snatched frisbees in the air and jumped rope to the delight of young students.
Following an entrance by the Scooby Doo Gang-Hogan’s twin brother Jeremy as Scooby, school district media specialist Dave Ackerman as Shaggy, Rogers principal Brian Smith as Fred, Gardner principal Dawn Ivers as Daphne and Zahnow/Rogers P.E. teacher Karla Bivins as Thelma — students performed jump rope and puppy pull races.
Scooby Doo and his gang were intermittently frightened by “ghosts” throughout the program, but eventually captured them like they always seem to do. And Waterloo always seems to meet — even surpass — its AHA fundraising goal every year.
The lights went off and a spotlight focused on a curtain unveiling this year’s total raised by the two schools: $44,623.95. This amount topped last year’s total by about $2,000.
Adding in nearly $20,000 raised by Waterloo Junior High School and Zahnow Elementary through its efforts, the school district total is $85,005.79.
For its record-breaking efforts, Waterloo will earn the AHA top district award for the sixth consecutive year.
As a school district, AHA donations throughout the years now total $468,285.
“The American Heart Association has been greatly impacted by these events in the Waterloo School District and we are grateful for their spirit and commitment to our programs and the health of their community,” AHA representative Renee Ades said. “The families give with their hearts and these events are truly a district and community wide achievement, showing the passion for our mission through all grade levels.”
Fifth grader Kailyn Gotto raised the most of the elementary school students with $1,550 by having 99 people donate to the AHA.
“Each year, we look forward to these series of celebrations to thank the students for their efforts and you will hear again and again that this is the best day of the year,” Ades said.
Josh Hogan, who puts together the action-packed assembly every year with help from a cast of others within the school district, said he was once again blown away by the efforts of students and the generosity of the community.
“To think that we have year after year continued to break our own record in donations is a testament to the effort and dedication of our students toward the event,” Hogan said. “They really seem to understand the importance of heart health and continue to support the American Heart Association through their tireless efforts in collecting donations.
“The American Heart Association really is a phenomenal organization, and for us to be able to support their cause in such a fun and exciting way is truly rewarding for our students and staff.”