Heart helpers: Sixth grade girls raise money for research with hoops event

Published Wednesday, May 17, 2017
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Hoops for Heart 2

Candy Nieto (left) and Stephanie Loma cut out heart decorations. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

McCarroll Middle School seems to have hit on a great way to raise awareness of and money for the research of heart disease as part of the physical education curriculum.

The sixth grade girls P.E. classes have participated in the Hoops for Hearts program this spring.

HOOPS FOR HEART – The two teams – teachers vs. students – who played in Friday’s Hoops for Heart game are shown above. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

P.E. teacher Vanessa Archer said the school wanted to come up with an end-of-year event for students.

“We wanted something at the end of the year to be fun for them,” she said. “They get tired and get in trouble the last part of school, so we were looking for something for them to do with all that energy.”

Years ago, the school had done Hoops for Heart. Archer decided to bring back the event last year as a way to raise money for the American Heart Association as well as provide students with an outlet for that energy.

Earlier in the year, Archer taught a unit on basketball. Her students were randomly selected to form basketball teams to play each other. Those same teams competed in a tournament and a chance for the big prize: to play a team made up of sixth grade teachers.

But the winning sixth grade team had to do more than just win on the court. They also accumulate points for the donations they collect, showing good sportsmanship and results of other games such as volleyball and team dodgeball.

When the points were tallied, this year’s winning team was the Horned Aggies.

The team collected $700, the most of any team. Overall, the teams collected a total of more than $2,600.

“Last year the kids made just a little over $1,000, so I gave the kids this year $1,200 for a goal, and they have just kicked that out of the park,” Archer said. “Both years, it’s been an experience where the kids have come out and done so much more than I thought they would do.”

Students were also asked to write down why they participated in Hoops for Heart. Those responses, written on heart-shaped pieces of colorful construction paper, were displayed on the “Why Wall” just outside the gym.

The responses include, “I’m doing this to help people that have heart problems and keep my heart healthy,” “Because I want others to not be in pain or to not be sick,” and “My grandpa died of a heart attack.”

The Horned Aggies played the sixth grade teachers Friday. The game was an opportunity to raise even more money and get students involved. For instance, the second place team held raffle drawings for prizes throughout the game, the third place team handled the concession stand, the fourth place team worked as disc jockeys and the fifth place team collected admission at the gate. That brought in more than $400.

The teachers may have won the game, but Archer said she has been impressed by how her students have worked to make the Hoops for Heart program a success.

“Our kids here in Decatur are very big hearted,” she said.

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