Rippin' Ropers inspire students to jump
LINDA KOEHLER/TIMES NEWS Left, Rippin' Roper Eden Wickenheiser jumps rope with Towamensing Elementary School first-grade teacher Ali Spalding; and Rippin' Roper Allison Martin prepares to jump with Rodney Strohl, Towamensing Elementary's physical education teacher, during a jump rope demonstration assembly.
Several students from John Beck Elementary School of the Warwick School District in Lititz put a lot of heart into jumping rope. Known as the Rippin' Ropers, the students are part of a jump rope demonstration team that came to inspire Towamensing Elementary School as students raise money for the American Heart Association's Jump Rope for Heart.
The Rippin' Ropers' coach Tamara Oliveri, along with 13 students ranging from third to sixth grade, demonstrated several ways to jump rope at a schoolwide assembly.
Before the demonstration, Oliveri told students there are three things you must do to be heart healthy: exercise (like jumping rope), eat healthy foods and don't smoke.
She told them the heart is the size of a fist and that it pumps blood throughout the body.
Oliveri said it was important to be heart healthy even at a young age, and said if they start young, it becomes a daily and natural routine and will help them have a healthy heart at any age.
The Rippin' Ropers dazzled the students with their jump rope skills and tricks. Some of the moves have names like Side Swing, Skier, Wounded Duck and Grapevine.
They demonstrated some Double Dutch moves that involved two long jump ropes turning in opposite directions while one or more children jumped simultaneously.
"Moves like this show how challenging and important the hand turners are," Oliveri said.
Amazing the audience, they jumped in a move called The Wheel, starting with two people and two ropes, each holding one end of each other's ropes. Then they did it with three people, three ropes and then four people with four ropes.
In another move called The Traveler, sixth grader Brody Price, traveled by jumping rope to another person and they both jumped with one rope.
Then he did it with two people, three and finally four people plus himself, all jumping together with one rope.
"It's about rope speed, not about how high you can jump," explained Oliveri, a physical education teacher at John Beck Elementary. She has been the coach for the last 10 years.
Students try out in second grade to win a spot on the team in third grade. They practice twice a week for one hour and fifteen minutes starting in mid October.
"We want to show how easy it is to be heart healthy and that it's OK to make mistakes. Our message is to keep on persevering ... keep trying," says Olivieri.
They don't do any competitions. Instead the Rippin' Ropers do approximately 15 demonstrations a year. They visit other schools and organizations such as Girl Scouts to help them earn badges.
The Rippin' Ropers invited several Towamensing students and faculty members to jump rope with them.
They were: Jordan Nelson, Gina Laviolette, Harley Andrews, Hannah Barry, Brock Bollinger, Ethan Recker, Corlan Wood, Chloe Oldt, Kaley Magner.
The students especially loved seeing their teachers jumping rope like, Ali Spalding, first grade; Jaclyn Ivancich, sixth grade teacher; Rodney Strohl, physical education teacher; Kristin Heller, librarian/gifted teacher; and Principal Christine Steigerwalt.
After the demonstration, several Towamensing students were inspired to try some of the new tricks they just saw, with the help from the Rippin' Ropers.
Debbie Heydt, Towamensing's school nurse, coordinated the event which was sponsored by the school's PTO.
"This was a great assembly. I liked that it was kids watching kids. Hopefully they will go home and want to do it and here at recess. We are currently jumping rope in our PE classes. The students are accepting donations, which are due March 3," she said.
The Rippin' Ropers want Towamensing Elementary to keep on jumping.