Demopolis Middle Hoops 4 Heart raises $7,000 for AHA

Demopolis Middle School basketball coach and physical education teacher Jesse Bell readies to start a 5-on-5 game during Friday's Hoops 4 Heart event to benefit the American Heart Association. The school has raised more than $51,000 in the last six years for the AHA.

Demopolis Middle School basketball coach and physical education teacher Jesse Bell readies to start a 5-on-5 game during Friday’s Hoops 4 Heart event to benefit the American Heart Association. The school has raised more than $51,000 in the last six years for the AHA.

Demopolis Middle School turned in another strong performance in its annual Hoops 4 Heart fundraiser Friday, garnering $7,628 for the American Heart Association. That number comes in spite of the fact that the school had 113 students participating in the Junior Beta competition in Birmingham and, thus, unable to attend the event.

“I’m thrilled. I really am. The kids always do a fantastic job of getting out and doing something great for the community and for the American Heart Association. You had some kids out on the Beta trip. I think they did a great job,” Demopolis Middle School coach and physical education teacher Jesse Bell, who organizes the event, said. “All the people in this community support our kids and what this event is all about.”

The event, which saw more than 200 students participate this year, has taken place since 1996 and allows students to gather donations for the American Heart Association. Participating students are able to spend the final school day before Spring Break in the gymnasium participating in a variety of basketball events including 5-on-5, 3-on-3 and 3-point shootout tournaments.

In the last six years of the event, Demopolis Middle School students have collected $52,610.79 for the American Heart Association.

“It means so much to me,” Bell said of the event that has become a spring-time staple for Demopolis Middle School. “High blood pressure and heart disease it hereditary. It runs in my family. I love doing this.”