Hundreds of children spread out Monday around McAuliffe School in Oxnard, jumping and skipping to try to set a world record and raise awareness about heart health.
They joined about 80,000 people statewide who started jumping at 9 a.m., trying to break the Guinness World Record for the most people jumping rope at the same time, said McAuliffe Learning Director Manny Koch. Monday was the first day of American Heart Month, and the event was organized in partnership with the American Heart Association, officials said.
“Who here is ready to make history?” Koch yelled into a microphone seconds before the jumping began. Kids cheered and screamed in response, and for the next 10 minutes as music blared from speakers, kindergartners through sixth-graders swung their ropes, laughing, sweating and getting a little winded.
California schools, nonprofit groups, businesses and clubs all worked with the California Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance on the attempt, Koch said. The current jump-rope record is 59,000 people and is held by Australia. Officials were not sure if and when Monday’s effort would be certified as a new record.
McAuliffe and Parkview School in Port Hueneme were the two Ventura County campuses participating in the statewide effort. The Environmental Academy for Research Technology and Earth Sciences, or EARTHS, a magnet school in Newbury Park, also jumped and raised money Monday but did not register for the record-breaking challenge.
At EARTHS, the event had a special meaning for kids and staff, said Lisa Dellamonica, a physical education teacher and event coordinator. In January, the campus unexpectedly lost fifth-grade teacher Rose McManama to a heart attack. “We wanted to do this in her honor,” Dellamonica said.
The school’s 500 kindergarteners through fifth-graders participated in the event, and the campus raised more than $2,000 for the American Heart Association.
“The mission of this program is really just to educate our youth on how they can make a difference in other people’s lives and their lives through healthy eating and exercise and giving back to our organization,” said Jessica LaRoe, youth market director for the association.
McAuliffe was the largest of the county schools participating Monday, with about 1,000 kids jumping, LaRoe said.
“It was really hard because you had to keep going and not stop for more than 10 seconds,” said Jessica Grogg, 11, after the music stopped. “It gets pretty tiring.”