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Bedford Hills Students Jump for the Kids Heart Challenge

 BHES students participate in the Kids Heart Challenge

“How do you even do that?!” a Bedford Hills Elementary School fifth grader asked his classmate in awe. His friend was jumping rope backwards in the school’s gym during the Kids Heart Challenge. Formerly Jump Rope for Heart, the Kids Heart Challenge teaches students about heart health while encouraging them to raise money for the American Heart Association.

“As a school, we have raised about $13,000,” physical education teacher Pat Aris told students. “This is by far the most money we have ever raised for this challenge. I can’t believe how many people we will be able to help with this money.”

Aris and fellow physical education teacher Rylan Borror set up a fun jump rope celebration that included different stations as well as three competitions. First, students broke up into small groups and made their way around the gym to different jumping stations. Some had single jump ropes and jumped on their own, trying out different styles that were displayed on posters. Others jumped in sync in groups of four or five, laughing when one of their legs caught the long jump rope and they had to try again. Another group bounced around on hopper balls and pogo sticks.

After switching stations several times, Aris and Borror called students to grab a single jump rope for some friendly competition. The first was a one-minute challenge to see who could do the most jumps. Next: Last Jumper Standing. Students kept jumping rope until they messed up. Once the rope hit their foot or they missed a jump, they had to sit down. The last jumper was the winner. At the end of their session, they closed out with the same challenge, but jumping in reverse. The winners from each challenge got to choose a prize.

“Don’t look at each other!” a student yelled out when two jumpers remained in Last Jumper Standing. “It’s going to mess you up.”

The winner of that particular challenge was James Moran, who said he definitely had a strategy for winning.

“I did a skip hop,” James said, noting that it was his favorite style.

During stations, Sophie Mayhew pointed out her favorite method of jumping.

“I really like doing the long rope with a group,” she said.

Aris loved seeing how much fun the students were having and was impressed with their fundraising.

“The highest we have raised in the past was about $9,800,” he said. “And that was much higher than in years before.”

Olivia Kovoor, who raised a whopping $1,300, said that the event was personal for her.

“The whole reason I wanted to do this is because my grandpa died from a heart attack,” she said. “And it really hurts me to see other kids in pain.”

The money she and her classmates have raised will help kids struggling with heart health issues.