School News

First grader raises over $2,400 for American Heart Association


Brendon Cox, a first-grade student at Manning Early Childhood Center (MECC), has once again demonstrated his dedication to helping others by raising over $2,400 for the American Heart Association (AHA). This impressive feat was accomplished as part of the AHA Kid’s Heart Challenge, a fundraising and service-learning program aimed at promoting both physical and mental well-being among students.

Brendon, a student in Bre’ana Canty’s class, has earned the Fundraising Award for the region for the second consecutive year, a testament to his remarkable efforts and the support of his classmates. “We are so proud of him! Congratulations, Brendon!” said the school district in an e-mail celebrating his achievement.

Led by Coach Robert Parker, the entire MECC community contributed to the cause, raising over $3,000, with Brendon’s contribution making up the bulk of the funds. The AHA Kid’s Heart Challenge engages students from pre-K up to the 6th grade in some regional schools, encouraging them to adopt heart-healthy habits and support cardiovascular health research.

The American Heart Association has been fighting heart disease and stroke for nearly 100 years, promoting regular physical activity, heart-healthy diets, and tobacco avoidance as key components of wellness. The organization also emphasizes the importance of mental health in managing risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

The Kid’s Heart Challenge provides various resources to support students’ mental and physical well-being, including lessons on kindness, respect, communication, and affirmations. It also offers mindfulness and breathing exercises, calming videos, and service-learning projects that boost mood and self-esteem.

On the physical side, the program includes jump rope, basketball, dance, and stretching skills videos, as well as healthy eating tips and recipes. Additionally, it features NFL Play 60 activity videos, bilingual family and faculty newsletters, and lesson plans on physical activity, vaping, water consumption, sleep, and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics).

MECC’s participation in the Kid's Heart Challenge not only helps raise funds for children with special heart conditions but also introduces students to the exciting world of STEAM and potential careers in cardiovascular research funded by the AHA.

By fostering a spirit of service and healthy living, students like Brendon Cox are making a significant impact on their communities. Through initiatives like the Kid’s Heart Challenge, they are learning to be their best selves, exploring new passions, and potentially shaping the future of heart health research.

For more information about the American Heart Association and the Kid’s Heart Challenge, visit