St. Joseph Students Celebrate Jumping Jacks as Official State Exercise

Pershing Elementary Students Jump for Joy

ST. JOSEPH, MO (May 22, 2014) – Students at Pershing Elementary School will literally be jumping for joy as they celebrate their successful lobby for making jumping jacks the official Missouri exercise at 10 a.m., Thursday., May 22, 2014. Pershing Elementary is located at 2610 Blackwell Road, St. Joseph, MO 64505.

The school assembly will feature students demonstrating the jumping jacks exercise and a video timeline of their six-year effort to make jumping jacks the official state exercise. Missouri State Representative Pat Conway and Missouri State Senator Rob Schaaf, and former Representative Ed Wildberger – all who were instrumental in developing and passing the bill – will celebrate with the students.

Why the jumping jack? The Pershing Elementary students lobbied for the jumping jack in honor of Gen. John J. Pershing who invented the exercise as a means to haze a cadet named Charles D. Rhodes. It is now a common exercise used by people all over the world. Gen. Pershing, from Northern Missouri, was a military leader in the Indian Wars and World War I.

The Missouri Legislature passed the Jumping Jack bill HB1603 earlier this year. The bill is awaiting Gov. Jay Nixon’s signature to become law.

“I am proud of these students who worked hard to lobby for the jumping jack,” said Rep. Conway. “They wanted to honor their namesake and all veterans. Not only were they exposed to the highs and lows of the legislative process, they also learned that commitment to a great cause reaps rewards.”

Located just 30 minutes north of Kansas City, the Conference of Mayors’ economic report listed St. Joseph as the seventh fastest-growing economy in 2013. St. Joseph is ranked fourth in the nation in real gross domestic product growth, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, and was ranked by the Milken Institute as 29th among the country’s best performing small cities in 2012. For more information on St. Joseph, visit

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