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Middle school raises more than $1.4 million through Hoops for Heart

Along with numerous basketball games, the Hoops for Heart event featured a teacher dunk tank. Courtesy photo

The North Attleborough Middle School (NAMS) celebrated its 24th anniversary participating in Hoops for Heart–the American Heart Association program that teaches kids about physical activity and heart health. Physical education teachers Jason Feid and John Dempsey spearheaded the event.

The purpose of this event is to bring awareness to the critical importance of healthy lifestyle choices while raising research funds for the American Heart Association,” said Feid, a NAMS Physical Education Teacher. “Through the Hoops for Heart event, students learn the importance of physical activity and a healthy diet, and that these healthy choices can bring lifelong benefits. The donations they raise help save lives on a local and national level.”

Fundraisers have already been busy supporting this year’s event. The program culminated with an after-school event on April 27, when kids enjoyed numerous activities, special guest Bryant University’s Men’s & Women’s basketball programs, various basketball shooting activities, basketball 3 on 3 tournament and a teacher dunk tank. Approximately 600 NAMS students took part in the program.

Students also had the chance to hear from Jameson Gagnon, a young man who has a history of heart disease in his family. Jameson is currently a sixth-grader at Abington Middle School and is his school’s top fundraiser.

North Attleborough has a lot to celebrate. In 1999, Hoops for Heart in North Attleboro kicked off with 30 students and $600 raised, Feid said. Twenty-three years later, top student fundraisers individually collected more than that just by themselves. The school as a whole raised $70,048.39, counting this year.

North Attleborough holds state, region and national records for the largest amount raised by a single event ($110,000 in 2015) and the most money raised in total by a single school. In 24 years, 15,448 students have raised $1,411,685.14 million for the organization. This year, sixth grader Ben Aubin took the top fundraiser spot with more than $1,500 raised. Wednesday was about celebrating all of that, but so much more, Feid said. Wednesday was also about returning to a sense of normalcy.

This was the first in-person Hoops for Hearts event we’ve been able to host in two years. Due to this two-year hiatus, not one of the students had participated in this event before,” said Feid.” We kind of had to rebuild all over again.”

But Wednesday was also about celebrating the future of research and innovation that North Attleborough students have made such a large contribution to.

We’re here to celebrate life,” Feid said. “Somewhere in this room, somebody has someone in their life who is affected by heart disease. Put Jameson in your memory. That’s why we’re here today.”

The American Heart Association’s Hoops For Heart program teaches students to set and achieve goals and discover that they can make a difference in the community while getting active! Regular physical activity in childhood and adolescence improves strength and endurance, reduces anxiety and stress, helps control weight, builds healthy bones and muscles, and increases self-esteem. Young people can build healthy bodies and healthy minds by establishing healthy lifestyles well into adulthood by including physical activity in their daily lives.

To learn more about Hoops For Heart and Jump Rope For Heart please call the American Heart Association at 508.243.5128 or email Brooke Thomas To donate directly towards this life saving campaign at

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