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Ballston Spa school heart event gets kids hopping, hooping

Students at Malta Avenue Intermediate School in Ballston Spa put a lot of heart into health, Thursday, Feb. 14, and Friday, Feb. 15, when they participated in the American Heart Association's Jump Rope for Heart and Hoops for Heart events.

The students have learned about what the Heart Association does and how the money they raise can help save people in the future, said Kara Echandy, a physical education teacher at Malta Avenue.

The entire school participated in the event for the first time this year, raising more than $2,000 for the American Heart Association. Students collected donations from family and friends for the event.

Don Nowc, a physical education teacher at the school said the event is important.

"Almost all the money we raise goes directly to the research," he said.

The students spent the class period moving through stations where they practiced different jump-rope activities or basketball-shooting techniques.

"I liked playing around with my friends, and exercising," said Rebecca May, 9, a fourth grader at Malta Avenue.

In between jumping rope and shooting hoops, the students learned about the heart muscle and how daily exercise can keep the heart healthy.

Specifically they learned that the heart normally beats 72 times per minute when a person is resting. The students' faces dropped when they learned that their hearts beat 103,680 times in one day.

Using a diagram they could see how blood is pumped to and from the heart, and gain an understanding of the importance of exercise in maintaining the health of the heart.

"It gives kids a way to connect into something they see in their families," said Nowc.

He said that some of the students' grandparents and parents may be afflicted with heart disease, and learning about it in school allows the students to relate.

"We are doing Jump Rope for Heart and Hoops for Heart to battle the on going epidemic of heart disease in this nation," said Echandy.

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