Hoops for Heart nets more than $2K

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“I can’t believe it’s been 17 years and counting,” Greg Russo, who chairs the Chemistry Department at Johnston High School, said Tuesday morning as he watched dozens upon dozens of students scoot all around the famed Edward L. DiSimone Gymnasium. “Once again, our great kids did another super job!”

Meanwhile, JHS’ acclaimed Students Against Destructive Decisions, or SADD, club once again took center stage and hosted what Russo called “yet another heart-warming success story that helps countless numbers of people.”

With SADD officers like vice president Melanie Vessella and secretary Julianna Ferruccio doing double-duty in the absence of president Sarah Monahan, who was home sick, the unique student group held its annual Hoops for Heart event that wound up raising more than $2,100 for the American Heart Association.

Upwards of 85 JHS students participated in such zany games as hot potato, chicken in the hen house, various jump rope competitions, volleyball and basketball free throws and many others that were planned and coordinated by physical education teachers Peg Guilmette, Ellen Quantmeyer and Joseph Acciardo.

“The purpose of this annual event is to promote heart healthy activities while also performing a wonderful community service,” Russo said. “This event has been held consecutively for at least 17 years – perhaps even longer – here at Johnston High and has only grown in participation.”

In keeping with tradition, said Russo – who doubles as both the JHS Student Council and SADD advisor – “the kids get to enjoy healthy food items and drinks for this awesome activity.”

Members of SADD, in fact, had a large supply of bananas, apples, water and special healthy snacks for all those students who participated in Hoops for Heart Tuesday morning for inside of three hours.

Likewise, members of Johnston High’s national award-winning music program assumed the all-important role of disc jockeys and pumped lively music into the famed DiSimone Gym.

Before Hoops for Heart began, students received Kids Heart Challenge Donor Forms and set goals to each raise between $20 and $25 to participate.

“Some kids go over the $25 mark,” Russo said, “but it’s all a great display of our students caring about others while taking on a unique challenge and being kind to help raise money for the American Heart Association and help support its many extraordinary programs.”

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