Sure, it’s nice to exceed goals, set records and earn awards.

But for students at Seymour-Redding and Cortland elementary schools, participating in Jump Rope for Heart has a deeper meaning.

Knowing that money raised goes to the American Heart Association and could help a family member, a friend or a stranger is what it’s all about.

“To me, it’s not really about the trophies,” said Redding fourth-grader Emily Quarles, who received a trophy and a medal for raising $400. “It just makes me feel good to donate that much. It’s better to have the good feeling. I just feel a lot better to know that it’s going to a good cause and it helps other people.”

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Redding second-grader Evah Snyder, who also raised $400, had a good feeling from helping, too.

“I’m glad people donated,” she said. “It just makes me feel proud that I donated, and I’m glad because it could help a lot of people someday.”

Cortland third-grader Kylie Eglen once again led her school, raising $1,034.

“My grandpas have heart problems, so I want to help them,” she said. “It makes me feel pretty good. If (anyone) has heart trouble really bad, that means we can save a lot more lives.”

All three girls set personal fundraising records. Redding set a record this year by raising $10,082.62; and Cortland’s total was $5,714, which was second-best to last year’s record of more than $6,000.

All of Cortland’s money goes to the American Heart Association.

But with Redding’s collection, $9,094.41 goes to the American Heart Association, $523.71 goes to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis in honor of Emily Hume receiving a heart transplant last year, and $464.50 goes to Anchor House’s food pantry in Seymour.

Sharon Wood, who has been involved with Jump Rope for Heart in Seymour since the 1987-88 school year, credited Redding’s record to two things.

Emily Hume, an eighth-grader at Seymour Middle School whose mother, Linda Hume, is a teacher at Redding, spoke to the students during a Jump Rope for Heart kickoff convocation.

“I would say that significantly made a difference this year, that our kids felt last year they helped save a life,” Wood said. “To meet her, to get to talk with her, that really inspired them this year.”

Also, Margaret R. Brown Elementary School’s Brown Bouncing Bears jump-rope team performed that day.

“That just really fired our kids up to go out (and collect money),” Wood said.

Each student received a collection envelope and had two weeks to collect money.

“Just in the last five years, they’ve also included an online donation, which has helped some of our kids reach out to family members and friends who aren’t here,” Wood said.

She said the number of students participating grew this year.

“Our number of families and students contributing increased, so that was the most exciting part to me, that more kids were taking advantage of helping others,” Wood said.

The goal this year at Redding was to raise $8,200, so students shattered that target amount. Last year, they raised $7,900.

Emily Quarles, Evah and Kylie all said they relied on family members to donate money.

“Normally, I just use my mom’s phone and call around the family and see what they want to donate,” said Emily Quarles, who has been in the top three at Redding in each of her four years of Jump Rope for Heart. “As long as I got 13 donors, my dad would raise me up to $400.”

Evah said she first asked her grandmothers for donations, and then she went to other family members. She also met her goal of $400.

“I didn’t expect that much money,” she said of her third year of Jump Rope for Heart. “My mom said I would have to pick a number of money I wanted to raise, and I said, ‘$600, $1,000.’ Then she said, ‘What about $400?’ and I was like, ‘OK.’”

Kylie said she led her school in fundraising for the third straight year.

“My grandma always says that we have to have a goal every night, and it’s usually about $100, $150, and I usually get that,” she said.

For the second year in a row, Redding made Jump Rope for Heart a weeklong event, called Heart Week. For a $1 donation, students purchased paper hearts in honor or memory of a hero, participated in a sock hop dance and a dodgeball tournament and had an opportunity to throw a handful of pasta at school administrators.

At Cortland, students spent one day jumping rope.

The top three collectors at each school received trophies and medals. The top three classrooms at Cortland were recognized, and the top classrooms in each grade at Redding were allowed to spray Silly String on their teacher.

Wood said her husband, Bob, came on board with Jump Rope for Heart a few years after her. In all those years, she said Seymour elementary schools have raised more than $500,000.

The all-time high for one year was $13,000 raised by Brown Elementary 20 years ago.

“It’s not about how much we raise,” Wood said, “but how many lives we’re saving.”

At a glance

Jump Rope for Heart

Seymour-Redding Elementary School

Total raised: $10,082.62

Top collectors: Evah Snyder, $400; Emily Quarles, $400; Paris Olmedo, $256.10; Alexis Richart, $254

Top classroom donations: Ashley Allen’s kindergarten, $541; Pam McIntire’s first grade, $604; Kathy Moffett’s second grade, $674; Kristin Bear’s third grade, $451; Dee Beavers’ fourth grade, $825; Sandy Mellencamp’s fifth grade, $668.10; Angie Klakamp’s special education, $250

Students who collected more than $100:

  • Kindergarten — Jaelynn Ward, Noah McDonald, Bailey Rogers and Landen Tormoehlen
  • First grade — Anna Obermeyer, Kaia Davis, Dayton Smith and Alexis Richart
  • Second grade — Elizabeth Kirby, Harrison Wetzel, Noe McPherson and Evah Snyder
  • Third grade — Jaylee Reynolds
  • Fourth grade — Samantha Carter, Emily Quarles and Kloey Wheeler
  • Fifth grade — A.J. Engel, Hiley Obermeyer, Paris Olmedo, Elle Hague, Kaegan Hensley and Carissa Newcomb

Cortland Elementary School

Total raised: $5,714

Top collectors: Kylie Eglen, $1,034; Logan Runge, $355; Brayden Rorick, $200

Top classroom donations: Jo Ferguson’s third grade, $1,574; Holly Birdsong’s first grade, $1,225; Wayne Woodard’s fifth grade, $814

Author photo
Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at or 812-523-7080.