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WSJ teams score big for heart association

Rebecca Burk / L’Observateur / April 29, 1998

EDGARD – Zina Catoire, community manager for the American Heart Association, is pleased with the varsity basketball teams at West St. JohnHigh School.

The girls’ and boys’ teams recently participated in Hoops for Hearts, a program that raises money for the American Heart Association. Catoiresaid their participation was the first participation ever on the west bank.

“They raised $300,” she said. “That’s an excellent first-time event. We’regetting involvement from a part of the community that hasn’t been tapped into yet.”She also added that it was hard to reach students on the high school level to help with fund-raising programs because they are so busy with other extracurricular activities.

“I’m so proud of the fact that we have west bank participation and they want to pull together for their community and do something for the greater good,” Catoire said.

The 28 eighth- through 12th-graders raised money for the association through scoring free throws and three-pointers at two basketball games, athletic director Loury Valdin, said. Parents and friends pledged money foreach shot made.

The $300 the school raised will go toward funding research through Tulane, Oschner and LSU medical centers, Catoire said.

It will also help get Teens Against Tobacco Use off the ground in St. JohnParish in the fall. TATU is a peer program that discourages smoking.Catoire said older student leaders will be trained to perform original skits and encourage younger students not to smoke.

“If they hear it from someone they admire they are less likely to do it,” she said. “The teen-agers have a real impact on what the younger oneslearn.”It will also help fund another new program called Search Your Heart, taught in minority churches to urge members to have regular blood pressure checks.

“African-Americans are on the rise for heart disease,” Catoire said.

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