Nativity students jump in memory of their dad

JAMES ISLAND—Nativity leapt its way to a new school record recently and raised over $5,100 during a jump-a-thon for the American Heart Association.

Darice Norton, the school’s physical education teacher who helped organize the event, said they couldn’t have done it without the Driscoll family.

Grace, a third-grader, and Claire, a first-grader, raised $1,800 in memory of their father, Charlie. Last year, they raised $1,600.

The girls said the donations came through a web page set up by their mother, Constance. Grace said they don’t know how to create a web design, but watched their mom so they could learn.

Both girls are avid jumpers with their own ropes, and Grace said they are always jumping rope around the house and yard.

Norton said both are enthusiastic students who practiced every day during the afterschool program.

On the day of the event, the whole school participated in the 2.5-hour marathon, along with parents, grandparents and younger siblings.

They had a variety of teams, a freestyle category, and a challenge arena set up like a boxing ring by one of the parents. It cost $2 to enter the ring, and the girls said they had challenges from classmates, friends — even teachers.

Grace also jumped on the criss-cross and one-foot hop-switch teams, while Claire was on the criss-cross and speed teams. They each had their favorite event, but both girls giggled about the elimination ring and said it was a lot of fun.

In that, Carolyn Smith, a K-5 assistant and jump-a-thon emcee, randomly eliminated people with sentences like: If you have a dog, sit down. Down went half the school. Or more specifically: If you’re named after a flower, sit down. Down went Daisy.

“We had lots and lots and lots of fun,” Claire said.

As a bonus, the sisters also earned seven gifts each, plus one to share, for raising so much money.

They will each receive a sports bottle, a new speed rope, a T-shirt, a giant playground ball, a dart game, a bungee jumper and a rocket game. They have to share the grand prize of a Trikke scooter, but Grace already has a plan for that.

“The scooter is for ages 8 and up — it says so right here,” she said, pointing to the prize sheet. Grace figures she’ll get the scooter until Claire is old enough, and she’s only 6 right now.

That’s fine with Claire, though. She said her favorite prizes are the giant ball and the bungee jumper. “I don’t know how to ride a scooter,” she added.

Both girls agreed the best prize was helping all the people with heart trouble.

The teachers said one of the most heart-warming aspects was seeing the camaraderie of everyone who jumped in the event.

“You’d see a lot of the older students buddying up with the younger ones and encouraging them,” Smith said.

Norton said every child was asked to raise at least $35 and contributed to the grand total. Next year, they’ll go for even more.