Over the course of 21 years, Winola Elementary has raised a total of $203,882 total for the American Heart Association, according to representative Christine Taylor. She’s been with Sherrard the whole time.

“They have been helping to save lives for decades - they really have made a difference,” she said.

Every year P.E. teacher Bev Krueger implements the Kids Heart Challenge program. This year Kindergarten through fourth grade Winola students raised $6,211.64.

“We’ve made a big impact for being such a small school,” said Krueger, “ I think it teaches kids about helping people. All the money we raise supports the American Heart Association - educating communities and providing resources to scientists.

She said the P.E. program benefits from the organization through ‘thank you’ gifts and access to grants. Last year the school was able to get pedometers for 3rd and 4th grade P.E. classes.

Her first year teaching at the school, students raised upwards of $15,000, Krueger said. “It’s a good program.”

During an all-school assembly, March 5 - winners received ribbons for most jumps during jump rope in each grade. Top fundraising earners were also recognized. All children participated in raffles for donated items including scooters and bikes. Sponsors were: Diamond Ag, Viola Telephone Company, Farmers State Bank, Walmart, anonymous families, Winola staff, Viola Police Chief Dave Perry.

The class that brought in the most funds earned an extra day of P.E. Stephanie Hampton’s 3rd grade class won with almost $1,000 raised. The student who brought in the most funds was Zoey Shafer with over $500.

Krueger said Winola staff always work together to put on these events, “Having the Winola Elementary family help out with this event has been amazing. We always work as such a great team and we really pull together to get things done. It is really nice knowing that you can count on the people around you.”

According to their website, www.heart.org, the mission for the Kids Heart Challenge is for kids to, “learn jump rope skills, how their heart works, and raise money to help kids with special hearts. Have fun, learn how to stay healthy and make a difference in the lives of others.”