Dozens of Martin Elementary School students showed off their best crisscross, straddle cross and bell during the Valentine's Day Jump for Heart event.
The fundraising event for The American Heart Association is in its ninth year at Martin, 10920 Reed Road, Lake in the Hills. The event is meant to teach kids the benefits of regular exercise and to show how a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
"Some of these students have had parents that have died because of a heart attack," said Kathy Bilof, a physical education teacher at Martin Elementary who helped oversee Tuesday's afternoon session. "So they do understand the importance of this."
About 150 third- and fourth-graders participated in two separate Jump Rope for Heart sessions Tuesday, with more sessions planned for Wednesday. Each session was two hours long.
Groups of six students packed Martin School's gymnasium and took turns attempting various jump-rope techniques, with such names as the crisscross or the bell, while music blared in the background.
On Thursday, fifth-grade students will take part in the school's Hoops for Hearts event. Various stations will be set up in the gym for students to complete basketball-related exercises.
Martin raised the most in its school's history in 2011: $24,000.
"This event has been well-supported by the community for a very long time," Bilof said.
Bilof hopes this year will be as successful.
In online fundraising alone, students had raised $4,000 as of Tuesday and an additional $4,000 during the first session. The money raised by individual students is calculated during the sessions and announced at the end of each session, Bllof said.
Jump Rope for Heart
The Jump Rope for Heart event has a long history within District 158.
Julie Peterson of Crystal Lake has been retired from the district for eight years but still returns each year to volunteer at the Jump Rope for Heart event at Martin.
She is responsible for organizing the first Jump Rope for Heart event held in 1992 at the former Huntley Elementary School — in a building that no longer exists along Route 47.
"I thought it would be a great way to teach kids how to give back to the community," Peterson said Tuesday. "It's a great way for kids to get a workout, and they just loved it."