DVES P.E. teacher scores two awards from the American Heart Association

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From left, Molly Pearce, youth market director from the American Heart Association, presented Melinda Rumple, Desert Vista Elementary physical education teacher, with the American Heart Association Appreciation Award – the second of two awards recognizing Ms. Rumple’s volunteer efforts. (Courtesy of AJUSD)

Melinda Rumple, physical education teacher at Desert Vista Elementary School in the Apache Junction Unified School District, was recently recognized with two awards from the American Heart Association. Both acknowledged Ms. Rumple’s volunteer and fundraising efforts on behalf of the AHA.

The Tried and True Volunteer Award was presented to Ms. Rumple at the Arizona Physical Education Convention in October in recognition of her commitment to the AHA and willingness to go above and beyond in the Jump Rope for Heart event year after year.

The second award, presented at a school assembly in November, is the American Heart Association Appreciation Award. The plaque reads, “For outstanding achievement in support of the American Heart Association’s efforts in cardiovascular science, education and community programs.” Representatives for the AHA announced that Ms. Rumple has raised money for the AHA for many years and DVES is one of the best schools in the state for raising money through Jump Rope for Heart.

Feb. 24, 2016 will mark Ms. Rumple’s 16th straight year organizing Jump Rope for Heart at Desert Vista. “I don’t know an exact amount that we have raised all together over the years,” stated Ms. Rumple. “I do know that 2006 was our highest amount raised. We brought in $13,359 that year, and I have never been able to beat that amount. In recent years, we have averaged around $5,000.

“I usually try to hold our event during February, because it is American Heart Awareness Month. The event gives me a chance to talk to the students about what they can do to keep their heart healthy, and I challenge them to start living a healthy lifestyle now to prevent problems later. We do some heart health lessons and a jump rope unit in their regular P.E. classes prior to the event to get them excited about the upcoming event. On event day, I play loud music and give away raffle prizes. I encourage parents to come help twirl ropes, and all of the students get to attend my ‘Jump Rope Party,’ whether they are able to raise funds or not. Jump Rope for Heart gives our students an opportunity to participate in a service learning project that funds the fight against heart diseases and stroke. Helping others is really what it is all about.”

The donations page for this year’s Jump Rope for Heart event at Desert Vista Elementary School is already set up. Anyone who would like to contribute may do so at: http://JumpHoops2016wsa.Kintera.org/DesertVistaES (scroll to the bottom and click the “Give Now” bar).

Editor’s note: Dana Hawman is the public information officer for Apache Junction School District.

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