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Retired Teacher Selected for National Education Award

Pam Best, retired Mars Area Elementary School health & physical education teacher, was selected to receive the 2019 American Heart Association Faye Biles Education Award.

The national award, named for an early implementer of association’s Jump Rope for Heart fundraising program, recognizes a Jump Rope For Heart coordinator who has been instrumental in implementing a school-related American Heart Association program.

“(Best) encompasses everything (the association) asks for in our volunteer coordinators for our youth programs,” says Brad Cavanagh, American Heart Association Youth Market Director, who nominated Best for the award. “(She) has been a strong supporter of our mission, our education efforts, and our fundraiser for 29 years.”

In the last 29 years, Best has helped to collect more than $331,000 in donations to benefit the association through Mars Area Elementary School’s Jump Rope for Heart fundraiser, which asked students in second through fourth grades to collect pledges for the number of times they jump a rope in their physical education classes.

In addition, Best implemented heart-healthy education in her classes, teaching her students about the importance of being active as well as the positive impacts of proper nutrition, hydration and sleep habits, says Cavanagh. And, she continues to promote health as the coordinator of the Mars Stars Jump Rope Team, which she founded in 2012.

Each year, the Mars Stars Jump Rope Team offers demonstrations and performances for students in local schools as well as at event throughout the community. Team members also participate in various local and regional competitions.

A Mars Area graduate (Class of 1976), Best holds a bachelor’s degree in health & physical education from Slippery Rock University.

She joined Mars Area School District in 1987 as a health & physical education teacher at Adams Elementary School and Middlesex Elementary School, before moving to Mars Area Elementary School when the two schools were consolidated in 2004. Best has also served as a volleyball, baseball, track & field and softball coach in the District.

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