Early to rise, rope to jump | NevadaAppeal.com

Early to rise, rope to jump

by Maggie O'Neill
Appeal Staff Writer

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Emily Edmundson jumps double-dutch as Kyle Sharp and Alison Barrette twirl the ropes during the Bordewich-Bray jump rope club.

Every Wednesday and Thursday, Jusdan Mondragon gets up early.

“It’s pretty easy,” he said. “I’m used to it. My dad comes in and wakes me up, and I eat a good healthy breakfast and then I come to school.”

That’s when jump rope club begins.

Jusdan, 10, and his friend Nolan Shine, 8, both huge fans of jump roping and particularly double jumping, joined the club at Bordewich-Bray Elementary School when it began three years ago.

“My sister is in seventh grade right now,” Nolan said. “She used to jump rope so I wanted to jump rope.”

While the club is open to fourth- and fifth-graders, younger siblings are allowed to join – how Jusdan and Nolan started – and the group has still been manageable, according to special-ed teacher Dona Sharp, who started the club.

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“I wanted to let siblings come,” she said. “If they’re here (at school), they might as well be doing something.”

Right now, there are 24 students who arrive at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday each week to practice jump-roping then learn some new techniques. They are let out by 8:10 a.m. to hang out with friends before school begins at 8:25 a.m.

“It’s definitely a fun part of my day because it’s so different from what I do as a teacher,” said Sharp, who has taught at the school for 12 years.

But being a jump rope teacher doesn’t mean being an expert in jump rope moves.

“The first year, I kind of learned along with my kids,” Sharp said. “If I have a new trick I want to teach, I go home and practice it with my son.”

Enter Kyle, 9, who has been on the team for three years. His mom started the club because school officials were discussing what new extracurricular activity to start at Bordewich-Bray, and P.E. teacher Linda Hurzel mentioned it’d be nice to have something physical.

Sharp’s daughter Alyssa was into jump roping at the time, so Sharp volunteered to start a club.

“We thought this would be a great way to get them moving and get their heart beats up,” said Sharp.

During the past three years, students’ skills have improved. And most of the students have stayed – just three new students joined this year.

The club got off ground when Jump Rope for Heart, run by the American Heart Association, donated the first set of jump ropes. Additional equipment has since been funded by the school.

“I do have one parent who thinks it’s been wonderful for his daughter,” Sharp said. “I look at it as a way to get students moving. And they love it.”

Down the road, the jump rope club may travel like the Jump Rope for Heart Team from Elko that visits area school districts, including the Carson City district, each year, Sharp said.

“We are discussing it this year,” Sharp said. “This part has been so easy, I don’t think traveling would be a lot of grief.”

The jump rope club is planning a performance at Carson High School in February. It could be a good time to gauge how far students have come. When Jusdan started the club three years ago, he said he had a lot to learn

“I couldn’t really jump when I joined and do a lot of stuff,” he said. “And now I’m really good at it.”

Benefits of jumping rope

• Good way to burn calories. Fifteen minutes of jump roping burns 200 calories. An hour or jump roping can burn up to 1,000 calories.

• Improves endurance, speed, balance, coordination, timing and agility.

• An inexpensive hobby, but always challenging. A good jump rope costs about $10.

• Perfect for travel, can be done in a small area, and is easy to learn.

• Works out the chest, back, shoulders, forearms, triceps and biceps, as well as the calves, quads and gluteus.

– Contact reporter Maggie O’Neill at moneill@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.