Students hop around for muscular dystrophy

Recently kindergarten and fifth grade students at St. Marys Catholic Elementary School teamed up to raise funds for the school's annual Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Hop-A-Thon.This year, students succeeded in collecting $694 during a two-week period. Each kindergartner was asked to collect at least five donations. "The kids were very excited about the event and were happy to be able to help someone else that couldn't enjoy the simple pleasures of life like we can," said SMCE kindergarten teacher Laura Kuntz, event coordinator.Kuntz has been organizing the event at since 1997, when it began at the former Sacred Heart Elementary School on Center Street."Upon consolidation, I continued with this worthwhile event in order to allow the children to  become aware of and appreciate our own health and realize that some people don't have the strength in their muscles to do everyday things," Kuntz said.While the top fundraiser was Rylie Belsole, who collected a total of $100, Kuntz noted that many students had generous donations to benefit the cause.The actual Hop-A-Thon was a two-minute contest in which students jumped around on one foot, both feet or a combination of the two, while their fifth grade partners counted their number of hops. Each student received a recognition certificate stating their accomplishment and an "I helped someone today...MDA" sticker.For the additional activities included as part of the Hop-A-Thon, the school's 26 kindergarten students were divided into four groups and paired with fifth grade students. Each kindergartner participated in four stations, including a station where students learned about muscular dystrophy by working in a coloring book that included various facts about the disease.