PIQUA — Springcreek Primary students cut loose Friday afternoon, celebrating reaching their fundraising goal for Jump Rope for Heart with jump rope, cheddar cheese ball, and silly string competitions.
“Our school raised $5,097.83,” physical education teacher Jennifer Huelskamp said during the school-wide assembly.
Springcreek participates in raising funds for the American Heart Association annually through the Jump Rope for Heart fundraising event. They hold it in February as part of American Heart Month.
“All month we’re learning heart-healthy habits, also jump-roping skills … with all grades,” Huelskamp said. “All of the kids have really taken to jump-roping.”
The school sets a goal of raising $5,000 every year, and they have raised almost $30,000 in total over the course of Springcreek’s history of doing this, Huelskamp said.
Springcreek student Jackson Larson raised the most money for the fundraiser with $350.
“It is important to raise as much as you can … (to) help our communities,” Larson said.
It was parent volunteer Trisha Elliot’s first time helping out during the Jump Rope for Heart event, and she said, “It’s really rewarding … seeing them pay it forward.” Elliot’s daughter is currently in kindergarten and helped raise over $100 for the fundraiser.
Prior to letting the kids at the cheddar cheese ball and the silly string activities, Huelskamp invited Piqua resident and parent Shane Snapp to talk about his and his wife Krista’s son Micah, who was born with a congenital heart defect.
“This is just awesome, and we’re so thrilled to be here,” Snapp said. With Snapp was Micah, Micah’s grandmother Phyllis Snapp, and one of Snapp’s other sons, Dominic, who is also a Springcreek student. Krista Snapp was unable to attend the assembly, and their other son Bryson attends PCIS.
“Micah was born with a heart defect,” Snapp said. He said that doctors knew right away that Micah had a heart issue, and specifically, they found that it was transposition of the great arteries. The aorta and pulmonary artery were switched on Micah’s heart and opposite a heart’s usual anatomy. Micah had to undergo an arterial switch.
“I thought how are they going to operate on such a small heart,” Snapp said. Everything went well, he said, and they were home after two weeks.
“We are so blessed,” Snapp said. Micah, who will be 2 years old in April, is not on any medication and only has to go to doctor appointments once a year.
“You’re helping out kids like Micah,” Snapp said to the students.
Next up, the school held a jump-roping activity for the students, and then faculty and staff sacrificed themselves for the students’ amusement by allowing a few students to throw cheddar cheese balls and spray silly string at them.
During the cheddar cheese ball activity, students who raised $100 or more were given cups of cheese balls to throw at teachers who, while wearing clear plastic bags over their clothing, had their faces covered in spray whip cream. The students tried to get as many cheese balls as they could to stick their teachers’ faces.
Following that, students who raised $75 or more were given bottles of silly string to spray at any of their teachers who volunteered.
Assistant Principal Ross Loudenback, in addition to getting sprayed with silly string, also ate an unspecified bug with Huelskamp in honor of the students reaching their goals.
Other winners recognized in Friday’s assembly included Keiren Asbury, who won the jump rope competition; Amy Davis’s kindergarten class, who had the most participants in jump-roping and earned an extra recess; and Julia Hale’s third-grade class, who raised the most money for the cause.
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 451-3336