Independence Elementary Among Top 10 Fundraising Schools for American Heart Association

Posted on 08/17/2016
Independence students cheer at the American Heart Association Jump Rope for Heart Awards Assembly

Independence Elementary, part of the Francis Howell School District (FHSD) and a National School of Character, is never shy to show its philanthropic nature. The school’s staff, students, and parents have partnered many times to raise money for various charities, and have performed other service activities that have brightened the lives of so many around them. But if proof is what you need in order to congratulate these youngsters and their parents, and the teachers and staff who inspire them to build ever greater character, then being named a Top 10 School in Missouri for donations raised for the American Heart Association might be testimony.

The recognition from the Heart Association honored diligent efforts by a lot of people in the Independence community. Principal Emily Pavia, said, “We were so excited to learn that Independence was one of the Top 10 schools in the state of MO for the donations raised! As the building leader, I feel so blessed to work with such an amazing and caring community consisting of students, staff, and parents.”

Barb Reyering is the Youth Marketing Director at the Heart Association, and when she came by to witness the school’s “Jump Rope for Heart” event, her appreciation was clearly visible. Seeing all those Independence kids coming together was…well…heart-warming. In a message to Independence, Reyering said, “The wonderful work YOU did this year for ‘Jump Rope,’ ‘Hoops’ or ‘Jump & Hoops for Heart’ at your school is helping to save lives right here in our community. Please know that almost all of these donations stay in our area for research, treatments, medicines, and prevention/awareness of our #1 killer – heart disease and stroke.”

Independence finished sixth in the entire state, raising more $20,452 for the American Heart Association. Independence's Student Council raised the money by selling friendship grams during the month of February. The Top 10 Schools will be honored at the Missouri Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (MOAHPERD) Conference on Nov. 13 and 14.

“One of the endless things I love about our community,” Pavia said, “is when our school gets behind a cause. Everyone rallies and approaches it with a ‘Whatever It Takes’ attitude. There are 11 Principles of Effective Character Education that help guide the work that we do at Independence and serve as the foundation of our school culture. Principle 5 focuses on providing opportunities for students to participate in Service Learning Projects.”

Independence takes these Projects to another level, making it a lesson about how to be an important part of one’s community. “When our community decides to take on a Service Learning Project,” Pavia said, “we involve our student body and student leadership teams with helping to make decisions and the process. We spend time educating the students on the cause and how their efforts will impact others, whether it is a local organization or more global.”

Other FHSD schools were honored by the American Heart Association, as well. Castlio Elementary raised the fifth-most money of any school in Missouri for the Heart Association’s “Hoops for Heart,” raising $9,999. Warren Elementary cracked the Top 25 in the state, garnering $4,297 for this same great cause. In the combined “Jump Rope/Hoops for Heart” category, three FHSD schools also were in the Top 25. Henderson Elementary was in the Top 10 in the state, raising more than $11,000; Central Elementary was in the Top 15, raising almost $9,000; and Daniel Boone Elementary was in the Top 25, raising nearly $6,000.

It’s not every day that kids get to help save lives, but that’s what the students, parents, and staff at these schools have done. It’s truly amazing to see that – with all that transpires in our lives – we still find time and resources to help others. It’s what makes a community great, and what makes us all proud to live in FHSD.


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