HARRISTOWN – In the days leading up to Thursday's assembly at Sangamon Valley East Elementary School, music teacher Kayla Daugherty “taunted” her students.
“I kept saying, 'Who are you gonna pie?'” Daugherty said.
She found out for whom the bell tolls when the majority of kids chose to “pie” her.
The students participated in Jump Rope for Heart this year, raising $5,000. A variety of incentives, like pizza parties and earning money to buy new gym equipment, encouraged them, but by far the biggest incentive was getting to throw a cream pie in the face of a staff member. Daugherty, Principal Valerie Janvrin and P.E. teacher Jennifer Blakeman were the targets. The kids who raised the most money each had a chance to throw one pie at the staff member of their choice, and the top fundraiser got three pies, one for each of the women.
Top fundraiser was fourth-grader Jordan Babb, who raised a whopping $415.
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“My mom has a job,” Jordan said. “She went around her office and got donations.”
Jordan said she had tried jump rope before the event at school, but she wasn't very good at it. The days of practice and learning new techniques in physical education class whetted her interest in the activity and helped her get better at it.
“I think I did a pretty good job,” said Nathaniel Hassinger, a second-grader, of his fundraising. His mother and grandparents helped him, he said.
The school will receive $600 to spend on new gym equipment, which is sorely needed, Blakeman said. Some of their equipment is over 20 years old and worn out. She would like to buy portable soccer goals because that's been on her wish list for a while, but she plans to look through the school's equipment and decide shortly.
Jump Rope for Heart raises money for the American Heart Association nationwide, where students learn jump rope techniques, not only to raise money to help children with heart disease, but to improve their own health. They learn how hearts work and why it's important to keep theirs in top shape through healthy activity.