By Eli Ruiz
GRAHAMSVILLE On Friday afternoon, Jen Cullen, who is the Youth Market Director with the American Heart Association, and Ms. Teen New York International, Micaela Bishop of Roscoe, recognized the efforts of the kindergarten through sixth grade students of Tri-Valley Central School in raising more than $6,000 for the American Heart Association’s Jump-Rope for Heart program.
"We started [the Jump-Rope for Heart Program] last year, but this is the first year we have a guest speaker [Bishop],” Cullen said.
“These kids have been wonderful in getting out there and getting the community involved,” she continued. “They actually collected more donations this year than last, which speaks to their dedication.”
Bishop, 15, was crowned Ms. Teen New York International with her platform being the American Heart Association (AHA).
“I lost my grandfather to heart disease, so it’s very near and dear to me,” Bishop said. "When I entered the pageant they asked me for my platform, since I was already involved with the AHA and it means so much to me, I just said American Heart Association right away.”
Bishop, who keeps busy by working for the MMG Modeling Agency out of New York City, said that her plans after high school graduation are to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and intends to pursue a degree in fashion merchandising.
Tri-Valley Central School Athletic Director Derek Adams also played a big part in bringing the healthy living program to the school.
Cullen said of Adams, “He’s just such a genuine human being. Derek is so focused on getting the best of everything for each and every one of these kids.”
Recognized for their efforts were teachers Ms. Goldsworthy and Ms. Denman for the top participating class.
Individual accolades went to second-grader Julia Moore, fifth-grader Samantha Raymond and sixth-grader Brittany Pennell.
Last, but not least, was Bryce Rodgerson.
The first-grader was recognized as the top individual participant in the Jump-Rope for Heart program.
Cullen then presented the Tri-Valley Elementary School Physical Education Department with “a special award we’ve created especially for you, and we’re calling it the Tri-Valley Heart Spirit Award.
“I cannot say enough about this physical education department and their efforts,” Cullen continued. “Jump-Rope for Heart aside, I come in and I see everything they do and the types of things they’re planning, and they’re outstanding teachers and a cohesive department working together flawlessly to really back up all of you [students].
This year’s theme for the Jump-Rope for Heart program is “Children Helping Other Children With Special Hearts.”
For more information on the American Heart Association and its programs, call 1-800-242-8721 or visit www.americanheart.com