Jumping With A Lot Of Heart

Leilehua High School junior Ella Raguindin | Nathalie Walker photo

Leilehua High School junior Ella Raguindin | Nathalie Walker photo

For her senior project, Leilehua High School junior Ella Raguindin wanted to raise awareness of hyper-tension and heart disease, so she decided to organize a Jump Rope for Heart event at her school for students at neighboring Trinity Lutheran School.

“I chose hypertension because my dad Elly had it for five years, and then he got it cured by exercising, drinking lots of water and taking medication,” says Raguindin, who lives in Whitmore Village. “He went jogging every weekend, if he could, and changed his diet – he ate chicken, brown rice and lots of vegetables.”

For the event, Raguindin contacted the American Heart Association, which sponsors Jump Rope for Heart, as well as various school administrators and the PE department to get permission to use the school gym. She was able to spend up to $150 for snacks (consisting of fig bars, fruit snacks, Quaker chewy bars and Nature Valley granola bars), which were paid for by Community Children’s Council.

There was music by DJ Kris Shigeoka, and the Kamehameha jump rope team showed up to show off some tricks.

“I learned a lot from this, such as not procrastinating on things and getting information out to everybody involved – they should always be updated,” says Raguindin.

“I think the event went really well. We had 160 students, plus 20 adults participating. I wanted to spread awareness about high blood pressure and how it can lead to hypertensive heart disease, which can lead to a stroke, heart attack and death; and I think I was able to get that message out. And they had so much fun, too.”

At Leilehua, the senior project is a class elective for juniors and seniors. In addition to the event, Raguindin also has to write a research paper, put together a portfolio and give an oral presentation.

“If a 17-year-old can think big like this and make it happen, anybody can,” says co-class adviser and PE teacher William Ganiko, noting that he doesn’t recall a Jump Rope for Heart event at Leilehua in the 11 years he’s been there. “And because of Ella’s efforts, we would like to carry on from this and maybe have our PE class continue it.”

Raguindin says it was a couple of years ago when her dad found out he no longer had high blood pressure.

“He’s still eating healthy and exercising, and he’s constantly reminding us to drink lots of water,” she says. “He tells us things that we should know now that we’re growing up, that we should learn from him so we don’t follow the same mistakes.”