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25 NHA Schools Combine to Raise Over $93,000 for American Heart Association

NHA Communications Team  |  May 30, 2024
Michigan, North Carolina NHA Schools Top Fundraising Efforts for American Heart Association

Relaying the importance of heart health to a wide swath of school-aged children can be a monumental task, but this time of year it’s made easier by partnering with the American Heart Association (AHA) during their annual Kids Heart Challenge. Twenty-five National Heritage Academies schools took part in this fundraising effort to help students learn about healthy eating and exercising habits, as well as raise money for community education, research, and children who need heart help.

This year, South Canton Scholars in Michigan led the fundraising effort, raising $15,507.47 over the course of their program, which included a jump rope competition. Students competed with each other and their teachers and the top two boys and girls in each grade were crowned as winners.

“Over the six years I have been at South Canton our community has bought into the importance of the Kids Heart Challenge,” Physical Education Teacher John Howell said. “My father had heart issues before he passed away, and we have several scholars that have been touched with family members that have or have had heart issues, including our principal’s daughter who is a current scholar and is a heart hero.”

NHA students and staff participating in Kids Heart Challenge

One of the big motivators for participation at South Canton is the promise of becoming a coach for the day. Students reach out to family, friends, and neighbors for donations over the monthlong competition, then the top fundraiser can coach their classmates for the day.

The school had 164 registered participants in the fundraising and 58 families learned hands-only CPR during the event. With that kind of focus on improving the quality of their lives, it’s no wonder South Canton has outperformed the local district for eight of the past 10 years since opening in 2011.

On to North Carolina

Over 630 miles south, the scholars at Queen’s Grant Community School in Mint Hill, North Carolina, were learning about the importance of CPR and sharing that information with their families. Students watched videos created by the AHA with testimonials from people whose lives were saved by CPR.

NHA students and staff participating in Kids Heart Challenge

“I think the push for families to learn CPR helped our campaign, the monetary donations weren't our main focus,” Physical Education Teacher Shannon Pearman said. “We also watched the Damar Hamlin video about the Buffalo Bills football player, which made real life connections for our students. Many students shared personal stories of their own heart surgeries or issues, and this motivated the students to donate knowing it touched lives in our school.”

Students also competed in an activity called Jump Rope Ninja. Each level (or belt) they achieved, students were able to sign a different colored ribbon of paper on the gym bulletin board. Third through eighth grade scholars also competed in a challenge called Jump 'Till You Drop, where they showed how long they could jump rope without stopping or messing up. Top 10 lists were created for each grade and the entire school so students could see how well their classmates had done. Queen’s Grant is no stranger to coming out on top, as they’ve outperformed the local district for the past 16 years.

“The goal was for third through fifth graders to jump for at least one minute and two minutes for grades 6-8. Our top score was a third grader who jumped for six minutes straight without stopping or messing up!”

NHA students and staff participating in Kids Heart Challenge

Pearman created incentives for students to watch the heart videos with their families, including small prizes and a drawing for one lucky student to win a plush heart. Classes who raised the most money were treated to an outdoor silly string party.

“This is my first year doing the Kids Heart Challenge at Queen's Grant, but my sixth year coordinating it as a PE teacher, and I have to say this school does a phenomenal job at raising money for a good cause!”

Great work making an impact and raising awareness about heart health, NHA schools!

NHA Fundraising Totals:
  1. South Canton Scholars (MI): $15,507.47
  2. Queen’s Grant Community School (NC): $13,612.03
  3. Chandler Woods Charter Academy (MI): $8,746.63
  4. Canton Charter Academy (MI): $7,247.33
  5. Keystone Academy (MI): $7,119.68
  6. Excel Charter Academy (MI): $6,816.90
  7. Walker Charter Academy (MI): $5,750.31
  8. Winterville Charter Academy (NC): $5,413.83
  9. Mountain View Academy (NC): $4,075.66
  10.  Ridge Park Charter Academy (MI): $3,407.09
  11.  Achieve Charter Academy (MI): $3,347.49
  12.  Phoenix Academy (NC): $2,097.60
  13.  East Arbor Charter Academy (MI): $2,048.65
  14.  Quest Charter Academy (MI): $1,765.63
  15.  Grand River Academy (MI): $1,719.06
  16.  Laurus Academy (MI): $1,307.53
  17.  Cross Creek Charter Academy (MI): $982.36
  18.  Peak Charter Academy (NC): $718.60
  19.  Timberland Charter Academy (MI): $567.36
  20.  Paramount Charter Academy (MI): $412.38
  21.  Windemere Park Charter Academy (MI): $368.31
  22.  Prevail Academy (MI): $234.42
  23.  Fortis Academy (MI): $36.05
  24.  Vista Charter Academy (MI): $10.00
  25.  Paragon Charter Academy (MI): $5.00
  26.  Wake Forest Charter Academy (NC): $5.00
TOTAL: $93,322.37

About National Heritage Academies
National Heritage Academies (NHA) is a network of more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools across nine states, serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. For more information, visit