Island School shows some heart

PUHI — For Shantelle Manibog’s Island School kindergarteners, yesterday was their first introduction to jumping, but that’s not all they accomplished.

More than 100 students from the Pohi private school, including Manibog’s munchkins, took part in an effort to “Jump Rope for Heart,” a health-conscious program sponsored by the American Heart Association.

As the youths rocked to 1980s tunes in the gym, program coordinator and physicial education teacher Jackie Mierta mentioned that the opportunity to shoot “Hoops for Heart” was also available to the participating kids.

Each student from kindergarten through fifth grade were given the chance to fill out pledge forms, with the proceeds going directly to the American Heart Association.

According to Mierta, last year, the group earned $3,874 for the organization.

“This year, our goal is $4,000 and that should definitely be attainable,” Mierta said.

For as long as she’s been at Island School, Mierta noted that the program has been in existence.

“I’ve been teaching here for about 14 years and it’s been going on since then and probably before that as well,” Mierta said.

Manibog’s class definitely enjoyed the time off from the books to help out a worthy cause and get in some physical fitness.

“Yeah, they’d definitely rather be doing this than homework,” Manibog said.

Reece Valencia, a student in her group, was excited about his gradual progress with jumping.

“Look, I did it four times,” Valencia said proudly as he finished up a set of jumps.

Then after getting through the line once again, he was able to get in 10 jumps, which gave him a smile big enough to earn him a Cold Stone Creamery ice cream cone.

But for Valencia and the rest of his classmates, the theme of the day was to be heart healthy, so they all settled for a good-sized ziplock bag of orange slices.

Both the “Hoops for Heart” and “Jump Rope for Heart” programs are also being done at other schools around the island, celebrating the importance of taking care of our most precious organ, our heart, and giving back to a great cause.

“Jackie does a great job with our program. She works really hard and you can tell the kids really enjoy it,” Manibog said.

As an incentive to raise more funds, each student was given the opportunity to win “thank you” gifts from the organization with each passing dollar amount they surpassed.

Gifts included frisbees, t-shirts, flashlight radios, basketballs, MP3 players, bikes, and more.

But yesterday was all about giving back to the community for Mierta and the kindergarten through fifth grade students and teachers, who took a break to give back to the American Heart Association, while taking a break from the books.

• Duane Shimogawa ir., sports editor, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 257) or kauaisports@kauaipubco.com.

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