ROCKWOOD – Students at École Harris Mill Public School were elated to learn their school led the nation in money raised through the Jump Rope for Heart campaign.
But perhaps even more thrilling was the reward: watching six of their teachers receive a pie in the face.
As of April 10, the school’s campaign had raised $12,050 in online donations for the Heart and Stroke Foundation – good enough to claim the number one spot in Canada.
“All the staff and all the students are super excited,” teacher Christine Mejia told the Advertiser on April 6, a day after the Jump Rope for Heart event and assembly.
“The students are really proud of themselves.”
The highlight may have been seeing teachers get “pied” in the face, but the event also included lessons and demonstrations about heart health and positive lifestyle choices, and of course, a lot of skipping rope.
Teacher and lead organizer Kailey Sargeant said all 271 students in the JK-to-Grade 5 school participated.
Their pledges surpassed the school’s original goal of $1,000 within 24 hours of the fundraiser launch on March 21.
“It was very surprising,” Sargeant said of the response to the campaign, the school’s first since the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We were pretty impressed with this school.
“It was nice to have an opportunity to show everybody how supportive and generous our community can be.”
Mejia said the goal was chosen because it was “a nice, round number” and because $1,000 “seemed like a significant amount of money to raise.”
In addition to the pie prize, students also earned an extra period of recess and a movie day in recognition of their fundraising efforts.
Mejia noted students weren’t the only ones pleased with the results – and the rewards.
“[The teachers] were happy to do it for the kids and for a good cause,” she said.
At the event, Sargeant thanked co-organizers Maddie Smyth and Morgan Melin, as well as interim principal Andy Hill for his support.
Heart and Stroke Foundation officials say Jump Rope for Heart “has been promoting kids’ heart and brain health across Canada for more than 40 years.”
Money raised helps the foundation with research, advocacy and health promotion, as well as offering courses on life-saving skills and the HeartSmartKids program to encourage healthy habits.
Schools that fundraise a minimum of $500 will receive 8% of their fundraising revenue back from the foundation to spend as they please to improve the school.
-With files from Duncan Hossack