JUMPING FOR HEARTS: First-grader Iyana Phelps and her classmates leap around the gymnasium during the Jump Rope for Heart event at E. O. Muncie Elementary School on Wednesday. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
JUMPING FOR HEARTS: First-grader Iyana Phelps and her classmates leap around the gymnasium during the Jump Rope for Heart event at E. O. Muncie Elementary School on Wednesday. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
More than 500 students at E.O. Muncie Elementary did a good thing for their hearts Wednesday. They jumped rope. But by doing so, they also helped other people's hearts.

Nearly all of the student body participated in Jump Rope for Hearton Wednesday. Schools that sign up for the event ask students to gather monetary donations that will be given to the American Heart Association. To participate, students had to have at least one donation and a permission slip from a parent.

There was more to do than just jump rope. Hurdles, a long jump and hopscotch were all set up on the gymnasium floor.

Nick Whitaker, a third-grader, said he loves the event and raises money every year.

"I like all the other stuff the most," he said. "I like the hopscotch and the hurdles. There are so many kids in line for the hurdles."

Nick raised $65 this year.

"I think it's the farthest I've ever got," Nick said.

Students who participated got to spend 30 minutes jumping around the gymnasium with classmates.

"It's good for their heart," physical education teacher Michele Ward said. "They're doing good things for hearts today. They're really helping out with a good cause."

For the past four years, third-grader Alexis Hunt has raised at least $1,000 for Jump Rope for Heart.

Alexis' mother, K-Llynn, said that her daughter takes full advantage of her grandfather's friends at the Lions Club and people who show up to her grandmother's auctions.

"She's little miss busy-body. She's not afraid to talk to anybody," Hunt said.

Hunt participated in Jump Rope for Heart when she went to school and she still likes to attend with her daughter. Raising the money is important to both mother and daughter because Alexis' grandfather, Hunt's father, has dealt with heart disease in the past.

School principal James Hough said many parents and grandparents sign up to participate in school events like Jump Rope for Heart.

"We have a lot of very active parent volunteers," he said. "Without parent support, we wouldn't be able to pull this off."

Daylena Torrance volunteers at the school, despite the fact that she doesn't have any children enrolled there. Her daughter is currently a sixth-grader and alumnus of E.O. Muncie.

Torrance brought speakers and played music for the students.

"I just like to see the kids have a good time," she said. "I like the see the smiles on their faces"

Torrance volunteers her time for several of the school system's events.

Hough said the extra 30 minutes of playing time during the day is a great way to fundraise.

"We almost always meet or exceed the fundraising goals we set," Hough said. "The kids really come through."

This year, the school set a goal of raising $5,000 in donations.  The school system's goal is $15,000.