Small, Generous Contributions Make Big Difference for Veterans

Student Council Holds Week-Long Penny Wars Fundraiser


Submitted Photo

Thursday Tally: The student council kept the school informed on the status of the competition daily. They would hang a sign glass before the theater that read the current totals for each class. The sign also shows the cumulative amount of money raised.

With the Christmas season quickly approaching, student council decided to give back to the community through a penny war. The penny war was a competition between each grade to see which one can raise the most money.
“All you had to do was bring pennies to put in your class’s bucket,” student council sponsor Mrs. Anita O’Neill said. “And bring dollars or any silver coins to put in as a negative amount into the other class’s bucket.”
The inspiration for the school to conduct the penny war came from Mrs. O’Neill. Although the school had held penny wars in the past, this was the first time for a community cause.
“I heard about the idea of penny wars from the Angel Card Project,” O’Neill said. “And since Veteran’s Day was coming up, we had a meeting and I asked if our student council wanted to do this and they said yes. And a community member here in town, who works at the nursing home, said they could use funds to mail Christmas letters. So the inspiration came from us thinking of ways to unify our school and to give them something purposeful. Also, about ten years ago we did a penny war with our former librarian, and we had pennies for Emily, who had fallen on some difficult medical times. So that penny war influenced my decision, too.”
The penny war raised over $126 to cover the postage costs for retirement homes sending cards to veterans. The final totals for each class were: Freshman with negative $36.27, Sophomores with negative $40.55, Juniors with negative $11.34, Seniors with negative $26.00 and Staff/Faculty rounding it out with $19.68. The money that was donated to the penny war came from spots ranging from pennies found on the street to quarters left in car cup holders.
“I donated two dollars,” sophomore Harrison Nordmeyer said. “I had some extra money from the vending machine, and I thought it might as well go to good use.”
Teachers also joined in the competitive fun and in a big way. Not only did the teachers contribute to the loss of points for the other classes, but they were the only group to finish above zero.
“I honestly do not know how much I donated, only because I had a container of change, and I put it all in,” social studies instructor Mr. Jon Swanson said. “So if I estimated I would say two dollars or so. I put my silver coins in the freshman container and the junior container, and I put them in both of those because freshmen are freshmen, and they don’t deserve to win anything, and the junior container was really because I put up with a lot of junior attitude.”

Accepting of All: Even though the competition was titled “penny wars”, the student council would accept any form of American currency. The only stipulation, all currency that is not a penny would subtract from the jars total. This led to a strategy that explains why four of the five jars ended with a negative total. (Matthew McKinney)

Students and faculty were encouraged to donate, in-part because it benefits veterans. Also, the competitive nature of the penny war was one way the student council got people to donate.
“The money raised will go to the coordinator of the nursing homes in the area who will send the money to some nursing homes,” O’Neill said. “And the residents, there, will write letters to our veterans, and the postage costs for those letters will be covered by the money we raised.”
For a fundraiser that is fueled by pennies, collecting over $126 dollars in change is best summed up by Mrs. O’Neill: “I believe it was a success.”