TJ Students Court Donations for Heart Health
Students at Thomas Jefferson Middle Schools will participate in the school's first Hoops for Heart Event on Friday.
Thomas Jefferson Middle School students will participate in a host of fitness activities and a basketball tournament Friday as part of the school's first-ever Hoops for Heart event.
Organized by TJ's Health and Physical Education Department, Hoops for Heart is a national fundraising program sponsored by the American Heart Association and the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance that promotes physical activity, heart healthy living and community service.
Students fundraise prior to the event, with proceeds going to the American Heart Association to support research and educational programs that further the treatment of heart disease and stroke. As of Feb. 12, students had raised $13,892, exceeding the school's $10,000 goal, health and physical education teacher Kaitlin Guy said.
As a result, TJ's PE Staff -- Michele Coriale, Tori Howe, Mike Shansky, Shane DeLucca, John VanSoest and Kaitlin Guy -- along with Vice Principal Dominick Tarquino and Principal Sherrie Galofaro will dye their hair red on Friday for the event.
With the initial goal met, Tarquino challenged students to raise over $16,000. If they do, he'll shave his head in front of the whole school on Friday after the event.
Hoops for Heart took off at TJ this year with the help of Howe and Shansky. They launched a Jump Rope for Heart at Radburn and Edison elementary schools last year and when both made the switch to TJ this year, they took the program -- updated for middle schoolers -- with them.
"The whole PE and Health Staff was eager to plan the event because we thought it was something that our students would really enjoy," Guy said. "Our supervisor, Ron Durso, and our principal, Sherrie Galofaro, loved the idea and were very supportive with our proposal."
Students, separated by grade level, will spend a total of two class periods Friday rotating through a series of jump roping warmups and basketball skill games before participating in a basketball tournament -- the day's main event.
Students are not required to play in the tournament, but those teams that do enter must have raised at least $300 for heart health.
The tournament champion faces off with the school staff in what figures to be a must-see matchup.
If you'd like to support TJ's Hoops for Heart program, students are still collecting online donations. Click here to give.