Thanks to the involvement of the administration, kids, parents, local community and businesses like the Kona Ice Truck, Mulrennan Middle School was able to raise more than $11,000 for the American Heart Association’s Hoops for Heart program

Earlier this month, the students, staff and administration of Mulrennan Middle School are thinking and acting with heart by raising money for the American Heart Association through the organization’s Hoops for Heart program.

For nine years, Mulrennan has participated in the Hoops for Heart program and has had a lot of success. Last year Mulrennan was the number four school in Florida that raised more than $9,000. 

Physical education teachers Anthony Escobedo, Bill Howe, Kelly Williams, Allison Sullenberger and Mary Goodus decided to add a variety of sports that kids could play to help raise money for the program. This year the students first learned about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle and having a healthy heart and then chose between flag football, volleyball and kickball.

“This program really hits home for me because I have heart disease,” said Sullenberger. “It also put things into perspective for the students that while I might look fit and healthy to them, I do have to fight heart disease every day.”

This year the goal was to raise at least $10,000 from Hoops for Hearts, which the school surpassed on their first day.
“The students and parents have been great about finding and making donations, on March 6 we had $11,492,” said Goodus. “One student even sent out e-mails to family and raised more than $800 from online donations.”

Goodus and all of the physical education teachers are incredibly grateful to the support shown by the administration, kids, parents and the surrounding community. “The parents and community are so wonderful and support everything that we do. We wouldn’t be nearly as successful without their help,” said Goodus.

They are also very happy to have the support of businesses like Sweetbay Supermarkets and the Kona Ice Truck, which parks on the school’s track to provide the students with tasty treats and in turn gives a portion of their proceeds to Hoops for Heart.

The American Heart Association is dedicated to building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. For more information on the American Heart Association and the Hoops for Heart program, visit

Mulrennan Middle School is located at 4215 Durant Rd. in Valrico. For more information on the school, call 651-2100 or visit

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