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1/19/2012 3:08:00 PM
St. John Fisher wins praise for heart health fundraiser
St. John Fisher School photo
Joe Ferguson, James Miller and Wilkins Wallace, second graders, at St. John Fisher School.
St. John Fisher School photo
Joe Ferguson, James Miller and Wilkins Wallace, second graders, at St. John Fisher School.

When St. John Fisher students set a community service goal, they put their hearts – and soles – into it.

During the 2010-2011 academic year, St. John Fisher’s 223 students raised $8,382 for the American Heart Association’s annual Jump Rope for Heart and Hoops for Heart fundraiser. That’s more money than any other K-8 institution in the state, a feat that earned the southwest Portland school and physical education teacher Kelly Gray an award of distinction at the Oregon Alliance for Health, physical education, recreation and dance conference last fall.

Gray organizes the AHA fundraiser each January, with the school’s lower grades jumping rope and upper grades shooting hoops. The activity is one of several fundraiser and outreach programs St. John Fisher sponsors during the year as part of its mission to introduce students to community service.

"Jump Rope and Hoops for Heart wouldn’t have been possible without the students’ hard work and the support of parents and friends of the school,” said Gray.

“I got to help people that had a disease,” said St. John Fisher third-grader Joey Moore. “My uncle had a heart attack last year and died. I tried to do my best for him.”

“I liked that we could shoot hoops and hang out with friends, and also bring in money for a life-saving organization,” said eighth grader and student body president Carson Spitznagel.

Lucy Balish, a SJF fourth grader, added, “It’s fun because you get to exercise and raise money for people with heart problems.”

At last year’s Jump Rope for Heart and Hoops for Heart fundraiser, 100 percent of students participated, and 70 percent collected donations, some bringing in several hundred dollars. Gray is already preparing for the 2012 event, which takes place in late January.

"It’s a way to show students that faith and service go to together, that they can work to help other people,” she said.



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