Students raise funds through Hoops for Heart

Published 8:16 am Thursday, April 6, 2017

Raising money for a good cause gave some students a good reason to spend a day out of class as Demopolis Middle School participated in the annual “Hoops for Heart” event on March 24 in the school’s gymnasium. All money raised from the event was donated to the American Heart Association.

The local event is traditionally spearheaded by DMS physical education teacher Jesse Bell. Students who donate to the cause get to spend a day out of class and extra recreational time playing basketball with their friends and in front of their peers.

“It’s an all-effort between me, Mrs. (Keesha) Jamison, our VA, the community and the kids,” said Bell. “We do this every year before spring break.”

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“For the past couple of years, Coach Bell always does the event with past coordinators and they always raise a ton of money and they’re one of the top schools in the state,” said AHA representative Taylor Cos. “They do a great job.”

Raising money for AHA and wellness endeavors is personal for Bell.

“My grandmother raised me and she died from heart disease,” said Bell. “This is my pet project. I get really excited about it every time we do this; to go out and help somebody in the community, or anywhere across the county, that might have heart disease. Heart disease is the number one killer in America.”

Bell went on to highlight the importance of children participating in physical education and growing up with knowledge of heart disease as well as the importance of exercise.

A plethora of students participated in the fundraiser much to the delight of Cos.

“It’s awesome. I couldn’t believe how many kids there were,” Cos said. “Everyone seems to be loving the basketball games.”

Cos, who is a newcomer to the area through her work with AHA, hopes to continue to be a presence in the area and continue to spread awareness.

“I’ve been working with a couple of other schools around here,” said Cos. “I know U.S. Jones (Elementary School) also does the Jump Rope for Heart event, so I’m really looking forward to getting all of the schools to participate, getting everyone on board and hopefully having lots of schools in the Demopolis area doing it. The most important part is that everyone gets information about heart health … not only the students, but they’re also taking information home. In the long run, that will help more people in the Demopolis community learn about heart health and that’s our goal.”

With the participation from the student body and community, the event raised a sizable amount of money for AHA.

“We just want to congratulate all the kids and all the people in the community for helping our kids to raise over $7,000 this year. Our goal was $10,000. We fell short, but that’s fine,” Bell said.

The longtime teacher thanked the faculty and staff for helping to organize the event by acknowledging he couldn’t do it without their help.