BEAVERTON, OREGON, June 13, 2023 — Valley Catholic Elementary School has made history by raising more than $44,000 in the Kids Heart Challenge, breaking the previous school and state records. The Kids Heart Challenge is an initiative by the American Heart Association that allows students to improve their own health by doing cardio-based activities, making pledges to stay active, and doing good deeds in the community. The initiative has been helping educate students about healthy living for almost 45 years.

The success of VC Elementary is due to the dedication and hard work of staff, students, and families. P.E. teachers Eric Holstrom, Melissa Efstathiou, and Jillian Bell Nelson led the fundraising efforts. The educators even agreed to take pies in the face, an incentive for students who started fundraising before the kickoff assembly earlier this spring.

The teachers’ enthusiasm and passion for promoting heart health among their students were evident in the school’s record-breaking achievement. The Principal of VC Elementary School, Melissa Doxtator, shared that it was her fourth year participating in the challenge. Every year, the school community has blown her away with their generosity.

“Our families are dedicated to contributing to the amazing work that the American Heart Association does and in teaching our students to serve others in our community,” said Doxtator. “This accomplishment is a testament to all of our staff for their encouragement, our families for their support, and our students for their participation.”

Healthy living continues to be a pillar of the Valley Catholic community. Promoting heart health and physical activity in children is especially important, as these habits can help to prevent the development of heart disease later in life. By teaching children the importance of staying active and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, we can help create a generation of people who are less likely to experience heart disease and other health concerns.

Jay Wintermeyer, Marketing Communications Director for the American Heart Association in Montana, Oregon, and southwest Washington, congratulated the school on their incredible achievement. “We are so impressed by the amazing fundraising efforts of Valley Catholic Elementary School. The money raised will help fund critical research that will ultimately save lives. We are grateful for their support and dedication to the American Heart Association and the fight against heart disease,” he said.

Emily Anderly, Senior Director at the American Heart Association, said, “The kids at Valley Catholic made a real difference in the fight against heart disease. I’m so proud of their record-breaking accomplishment of $44,140. They raised a record amount of money among participating schools in the Pacific Northwest that will fund life-saving research.” This achievement is a testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone involved in the Kids Heart Challenge at Valley Catholic Elementary School.

The Kids Heart Challenge and American Heart Challenge school programs provide unique age-appropriate curriculum and activities. Students and educators have the tools needed to support both mental and physical well-being in students, families and staff, all while making a difference by raising funds to save lives.


About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookTwitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.   

For Media Inquiries: 

Jay Wintermeyer: 503-820-5309;