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Glenmont is tops in state for heart fundraiser

After 10 years they're still going strong.

The annual Hoops for Heart event at Glenmont Elementary was held last week, bringing its 10-year fundraising total over the $200,000 mark. All of the money raised during the three-day event is donated to the American Heart Association.

What's their secret?

Schoolwide participation seems to be it, with 91.5 percent or 391 students at the school getting involved in the event. Stacked against other schools of its size around the country, Glenmont Elementary was the top fundraiser in New York and the fourth highest in the nation, raising $28,562 this year.

It's simply phenomenal, said Jeff Masline, youth market director for the American Heart Association. "Their participation over there is three times the national average."

Masline described the money being raised for the association as "extremely important," and "life-saving," and said it is used for a range of functions, such as research and preventing fetal birth defects, as well as educating the public about heart health.

And the best part, according to Masline, is that it's teaching the children that exercise is not only important but can also be fun.

The American Heart Association's Hoops for Heart program is geared toward elementary and middle school students. The participants engage in physical activity, raise money to fight heart disease and stroke, and learn about heart health and volunteer service by participating in basketball skill games and tournaments.

He credits the success of the program at Glenmont Elementary to Principal Laura Heffernan, physical education teachers Laurie Noland and Katie Sharvat, and secretary Kathi Davey.

They are the driving force behind motivating the students, Masline said.

"They're on the front line of the obesity epidemic," said Masline, specifically mentioning Noland and Sharvat.

Bethlehem Central District School Communication Director Matt Leon said this is just another year of excellence for Glenmont but noted that participation continues to grow.

"They have been at the top for fundraising since 2002," Leon said. "With over 91 percent participating this year, it's the highest in 10 years. They have raised over $220,000 for the Heart Association now."

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