Charleroi students turn pennies into big bucks for cancer causes
Charleroi students turn coins into big bucks for cancer causes
Guidance counselor Tara Johnson, right, and teacher Brianne Rosendale have encouraged Charleroi Elementary Center students to raise more than $10,000 for cancer causes through penny wars over the past two years.
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CHARLEROI – Guidance counselor Tara Johnson was looking for a way to pull the community and Charleroi Elementary Center together, and she found it two years ago through a cancer research agency.
Both Johnson and second-grade teacher Brianne Rosendale had recently lost someone close to them through devastating diseases, so they leaped at an invitation to take part in Pennies for Patients, a fundraiser sponsored by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s School and Youth Programs.
“All pennies add up,” said Johnson, whose two penny wars in as many years have raised more than $10,000 for the society.
Local businesses donate their time and resources, while the “students learn sabotaging and accounting,” she said.
Beginning Friday, all grade levels will compete for a pizza party by dropping pennies into jars and also sneaking to other classes to drop in larger coins or bills to subtract from the penny totals of their competition.
The first year, Johnson said, she spent 28 hours at a local grocery store using a coin counter to convert the pennies into large bills while lugging around 80-pound jars of coins.
Last year, Bank of America sent someone to handle the money, and it has agreed to do that again this year until the contest ends at 10 a.m. Oct. 12.
To inject some fun into the games, one year the students “slimed” a school official in a baby pool. Another year, the school principal was duct-taped to a wall to cap off the contest. This year, the winning homeroom gets to pick which teacher gets a whipped cream pie in the face.
Also, Salatino’s River House Cafe has agreed to donate pizzas for the winning grade level.