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Hillside kids raise heart rates - and cash - in annual challenge

Hillside kids raise heart rates - and cash - in annual challenge

Hillside kids raise heart rates - and cash - in annual challenge
Charlie Rodgers, 8, a third-grader at Hillside Elementary School in Niskayuna, ducks under a hoops
Photographer: Jeff Wilkin/Gazette Reporter

Charlie Rodgers was on the run. 

Like a miniature race car, the eight-year-old girl turned up personal speed, adjusted agility controls and zipped around plastic cones on the gym floor at Hillside Elementary School.

She dipped under plastic hoops. She tumbled onto a giant pad.

"It's like an obstacle course," said Rodgers, 8, a third-grader at the school. "There are all the jumps and turns."

Hillside students, who are generally told not to run in the hallways, last week were encouraged to sprint, spin and jump during the school's "Kids Heart Challenge." Bunches of boys and girls used unlimited reserves of energy - found in all elementary school kid engines - and occasionally high-fived one another as they passed each other on the gym hardwood.

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Darryl Bray, the school's physical education teacher, said the after-school, 45-minute sessions were designed to get kids moving. 

The kids also were encouraged to do good deeds, make smart dietary choices - fewer sugary snacks and drinks - and raise money through donations. The program, formerly "Jump Rope for Heart," has been held at the school for the past 12 years.

"If you're going to run, this is the place to do it," said Bray, who added that 192 of the school's 400 students participated in the week-long program. The kids raised more than $17,000 for the local chapter of the American Heart Association.

There were no complaints from participants, who didn't mind the extra work away from their desks and books.

"You get to do a lot of running," said Iris Signell, 6, a first-grader. "I like running."

Contact Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 518-395-3124 or at [email protected]

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