DELMAR, N.Y. (NEWS10) – For 18 years, students at Hamagrael Elementary School have been collecting donations to help battle heart disease, as part of the American Heart Association’s “Kids Heart” Challenge. Over those years, the school has raised over a quarter-million dollars.

“It’s something I’m really proud of for our little school to do a quarter of a million dollars for such a good cause and to teach kids about helping others,” said Chris Berschwinger, physical education teacher at Hamagrael Elementary. “Again, it just makes you feel pretty good.”

The program started in 2005, and in its inaugural year raised around $10,000. This year, the school has already raised more than $21,000, with help from online campaigns.

Bershwinger said the fundraiser is about more than just raising money, though- there’s an educational side, too. “A lot of it is curricular too and it’s talking about how to help their bodies through the American Heart Association and keep themselves healthy,” Berschwinger said. “ “It’s also working on how can I keep my heart healthy? How can I keep a healthy life? It hits all of it, Berschwinger said.

The program has no plans of stopping anytime soon. Eighteen years running, a quarter of a million dollars and Bershwinger concluded by saying the mission stays the same. “I can’t believe the number,” he said. “We’re going to keep going.”