Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

March 14, 2014

West Elementary raises $4,800 for American Heart Association

Steve Woodhouse
Journal-Express

Knoxville — Students in grades KinderPrep through First at West Elementary have jumped their way to raising $4,800 for the American Heart Association. 

West PE Teacher Jeremy Van Engen reports that for the past three weeks, the students have participated in a Jump Rope For Heart campaign. The campaign is intended to raise awareness of heart disease and stroke. 

Pledges and donations for the students' cause were sought from family and friends. Donations were also made online. 

The fund raiser at West has been a part of Van Engen's six school years with the district. Prior to this year, the largest amount raised by the students was $2,200. 

Van Engen said the students are excited about taking part in this fund raiser each year. Part of the incentive for the students is a set of rubber duck key chains. Different duck characters can be earned as different levels of funding are reached. The "Ninja Duck" is a popular one the students are eager to have when the keychains arrive. Top fund raisers will also receive a trophy. As of yesterday, West students had earned four trophies and 74 ducks. 

"I think it's really exciting," Van Engen said about the fund raiser. Students have been able to celebrate their accomplishments with extra fun in class the past few days. Van Engen said it is rewarding for him to see these young children work to help an organization, such as the AHA.

The nationwide fund raiser divides states into districts. The Iowa district that includes Knoxville is among the top districts in the program. Over $1 million has been raised online by this district. 

When this year's fund raiser began, a goal of $2,600 was set. Though that goal has been met and surpassed, West is not closing its online fund raising until Monday (March 17). To donate, visit http://www.jump.org and select West Elementary.