Newburgh Students 'Jump for Johnny' During National Health Heart Month

February 2012, from the archives

Students from Meadow Hill Global Explorations School celebrated National Heart Health Month by honoring former classmate Johnny Sileno. Their young classmate passed away from brain cancer in 2010. A family member of the young student made a donation in his memory after Sileno received excellent care while in attendance at the school. The health office used the funds to purchase a large jump rope that students could use during the American Heart Association’s Jump Rope for Heart program.  In honor of the young student, physical education teachers at the school incorporated a special unit called “Jump for Johnny” into the February 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.

PR JumpforJohnny: Meadow Hill Global Explorations School students and faculty, along with members and friends of the Sileno Family, and American Heart Association’s Director of Youth Marketing Jennifer Cullen, showcase a photo of the late Johnny Sileno.

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Kerry Butrick is the Community Relations Specialist for the Newburgh Enlarged City School District