Submitted Central Elementary School P.E. teacher Tucker Smith (pictured at left) congratulates the top earning third graders in this year's Kids Heart Challenge event, formerly known as Jump Rope For Heart. Students pictured (from left): Isabella Keller (first in third grade), Libby Gearlds (second in third grade) and Brody Gregory (third in third grade).

Submitted

Central Elementary School P.E. teacher Tucker Smith (pictured at left) congratulates the top earning third graders in this year's Kids Heart Challenge event, formerly known as Jump Rope For Heart.

Students pictured (from left): Isabella Keller (first in third grade), Libby Gearlds (second in third grade) and Brody Gregory (third in third grade).

Central Elementary School's students raised $6,570.83 for the American Heart Association through the Kids Heart Challenge, a three-week fundraising drive formerly known as Jump Rope for Heart.

The students celebrated with a jump rope marathon last Thursday, and the students who earned the most money were also given prizes.

"I try to emphasize to the kids how this event helps the American Heart Association," CES physical education teacher Tucker Smith said. "The kids here are only 7, 8 or 9 years old, but they pretty much all know someone who has been affected by heart disease."

In previous years, Smith estimated that Central has averaged $7,000 through Jump Rope for Heart, and although the school aimed to push past that figure this year, its total came close to that average.

"For this year, we set our goal at $8,000," Smith said. "In the past, I've seen some years where we brought in about $5,000, and others where it was closer to $9,000. The kids go around to people like their parents, neighbors and churches and ask for donations."

Along with the fundraising aspect, Kids Heart Challenge provides a physical-education curriculum based around jump rope and educating students on how their hearts work.

"I feel like this year's event has gone really well," Smith said. "This is my seventh year. The kids take it wholeheartedly, so it's always a success."