Teacher honored for heart disease initiative _lowres

Photo provided by Jackie Tisdell -- Lakeside Primary School physical education teacher Jason Naquin has been selected as a national Jump Rope For Heart/Hoops For Heart grant recipient.

For seven years, Lakeside Primary School teacher Jason Naquin has organized the school’s Jump Rope for Heart and Hoops for Heart programs.

He encourages his students to jump rope and shoot baskets to raise money and awareness of cardiovascular disease.

It’s a personal mission for the teacher, whose sister was born with faulty heart valves. Naquin’s sister had open-heart surgery in 1990 and will again soon.

His efforts are being rewarded.

Naquin, a physical education teacher at the Prairieville school, is one of 10 recipients of a national Jump Rope For Heart/Hoops For Heart grant from SHAPE America — Society of Health and Physical Educators.

Naquin will receive a US Games gift certificate to enhance his physical education program, a free one-year membership to SHAPE America and expenses paid for travel and registration to the association’s National Convention and Expo in Minneapolis, where he will be recognized on April 7.

Grant recipients are recognized for their passion and commitment for physical education and the JRFH/HFH program, which promotes physical education and provides children with knowledge of heart disease and stroke, a news release said.

“I truly believe my students care more about others than they care about themselves,” said Naquin, whose students have raised more than $12,000 for cardiovascular disease and stroke research and health education. “They have even written papers explaining why they jump and choose to dedicate themselves to raising money for heart disease.”

He is a graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University with a bachelor’s degree in social studies secondary education and certification in kindergarten through 12th-grade physical education.

Lakeside held its annual schoolwide Jump Rope For Heart/Hoops For Heart events Feb. 22 as part of American Heart Month.