TPS students have a heart

Jump Rope for Heart surpasses goal 400%
Mar. 10, 2014 @ 12:34 PM

When Toni Tricarico told her physical education students at Thomasville Primary School that she wanted to raise money for the American Heart Association , the kids took the idea and ran with it – or skipped with it to be exact.

During February,  students participated in Jump Rope for Heart, a national fundraising effort sponsored by the AHA to promote the importance of a healthy heart and help children suffering from heart-health issues. Tricarico set a modest goal of $300 for her students, who each were asked to bring in $1 each. With more than 800 students at TPS, Tricarico felt the goal was attainable – and it was.

“At the beginning of the last week in February, we had $290,” Tricarico said. “I was more than pleased.”

What happened in the final week of February, however, turned out to be quite the surprise. By the time the calendar turned to March, students had raised more than $1,200. Children looked under couches and checked the floorboards of their parent's car in search of whatever money they could find.

In the end, all those pennies and nickels added up.

“I was blown away with the overall outcome of everything,” said Tricarico. “We must have rolled almost $200 in change. I don't think they realized that over time the change adds up to a bigger number.”

Many of the students were introduced to the art of jump roping for the first time. Children created their own jump rope routine set to music of their choice, and Tricarico used the experience to stress the importance of a healthy heart, even at a young age. A key component to Jump Rope for Heart is teaching children heart-healthy habits that they can use throughout their lifetime. The initiative stresses the importance of being physically active and taking care of the most vital organ in the human body.

“They had a ball,” Tricarico said. “They didn't realize the most important muscle you're using [while jump roping] is your heart, That's how we try to hit home with them. We say if you didn't have that healthy muscle, you wouldn't be able to do a lot of the things you like to do.”

Principal Angela Moore credits Tricarico and her students for making the endeavor such an overwhelming success.

“It was really good,” said Moore. “I definitely think [Tricarico] took the initiative to get that done and the kids were really excited about it. We raised a lot of money for it. I think it's definitely going to be something we celebrate as a school. They really bought into Jump Rope for the Heart this year. I feel like the kids really wanted to do, were excited about it and that made a world of difference.”

For more information on Jump Rope for Life, visit

Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or