Medal-winning athletes help Newport kids with jog-a-thon

Olympic and Paralympic athletes turned out for Newport Heights Elementary School’s jog-a-thon fundraiser Wednesday morning in Newport Beach.

Aaron Peirsol, a five-time Olympic gold-medal swimmer and a Newport Harbor High School graduate, and Brent Poppen, a bronze medalist in wheelchair rugby in the Paralympic Games for disabled athletes, led students in the jog-a-thon’s opening run. Students raise money by requesting pledges for each lap they run.

The event is Newport Heights’ biggest annual fundraiser. Last year, it raised $30,000, PTA vice president Janet Montgomery said. The money goes toward classroom supplies, physical-education equipment, school assemblies and field trips.

Similar jog-a-thons are held at schools across the Newport-Mesa Unified School District.

—Nicole Knight Shine