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Students raise money for those affected with heart issues

Date: 3/14/2014

By Carley Dangona

AGAWAM – Five students shared their fundraising efforts for the American Heart Association with the School Committee.

At its regular meeting on March 11 in the Roberta G. Doering Elementary School, students from the Benjamin J. Phelps, Clifford M. Granger and the Robinson Park schools shared news about the Jump Rope for the Heart fundraiser. The schools raised $3,200, $8,800 and $7,500 respectively.

“We’re here tonight because of these kids and some of the wonderful contributions that they’ve made,” Joe Heney, physical education and health teacher for Robinson Park, said. “We talk about heart health and cardiovascular disease and really try to get the kids motivated about living an active lifestyle, which is such an important thing nowadays.”

As part of Jump Rope for the Heart, students have a dialogue with their families about relatives or friends that deal with heart issues.

Lucas Fillion of Phelps jumped for his great-grandmother and Maddie Balzano of Robinson Park jumped for her uncle, who is waiting for a heart transplant.

“Events like this are marvelous because what you have is a two-fold reward. It’s educational in that they stress the issues related to heart disease so the students are learning, but it also stresses the value of giving back to your community in helping somebody less fortunate than you are,” Superintendent of Schools William Sapelli said.

In other action, after being turned down for a third year by the Massachusetts School Building Authority for the construction of a new high school, the committee voted in favor of creating a statement of interest (SOI) for the renovation of Agawam High School.

Sapelli explained that this is just the first step of the process. If the SOI was accepted by the state, the matter would then go before the committee and the City Council for determination and approval of the project’s budget.

Member Anthony Bonavita noted that both the committee and the council would conduct public hearings to receive input on the matter.