Meadow Hill Partners with National Heart Health Month for Second Annual “Jump for Johnny”
Students Honor Former Classmate During Health Initiative
Recently, Meadow Hill Global Explorations School students in Newburgh celebrated National Heart Health Month in a special way, by honoring former classmate Johnny Sileno who passed away from brain cancer a year and half ago.
Last year, a family member of the young student made a donation in his memory because of the care Sileno received while a student at the school. The health office decided to purchase a large jump rope for students to use during the American Heart Association’s Jump Rope for Heart program that the Meadow Hill Physical Education Department takes part in during the month of February. In honor of the young student, physical education teachers at the school incorporated a special unit called “Jump for Johnny” into the program.
Now in the second year, “Jump for Johnny” allows students and staff to take a break from their regular day to celebrate and remember Sileno with joy. One by one, participants laughed and smiled as they “Jumped for Johnny” in the school gymnasium.
“Johnny was a former student of my physical education class. Throughout his trials and tribulations, he continued to participate to the best of his ability. He showed constant enjoyment even though he had limitations. My last memory in class was when we were playing a tag game and he was in a wheelchair. Johnny, a typical Kindergarten student, was the tagger and he would reach out to tag his classmates. He exhibited a great deal of heart and enthusiasm, which is the reason why we are honoring him during the "Jump Rope for Heart/Hoops for Heart" unit,” explained Meadow Hill Physical Education teacher Danielle DeSarro.
On Wednesday, March 7, an incentive event for the “Jump Rope for Heart/Hoops for Heart” fundraiser was held in the main gymnasium. Meadow Hill students Kierstin Fox, the student who raised the most for the American Heart Association, was given the honor of shaving physical education student-teacher Edward Cunningham’s head. In addition, students participated in a fun-filled ‘pie’ throwing contest.
American Heart Association’s Director of Youth Marketing Jennifer Cullen, explained that the students are all ‘little heroes’ by raising awareness on heart health during the Jump Rope for Heart program in conjunction with honoring their classmate. This year, Meadow Hill students and staff raised over $2,500 for the American Heart Association.