Students’ pennies aid leukemia research

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Pennies. You can find them anywhere. In seat cushions, on sidewalks, or randomly stuffed in a pair of jeans. Some people even take the time, to drop them into a tiny piggy bank slot to accumulate a private stash of “emergency money.”

But 15 U.S. Jones Elementary School students recently collected 16,821 pennies to donate to the “Pennies for Patients Campaign” to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

For two weeks in April, third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students at the Demopolis elementary school donated a penny whenever they were in the giving spirit. And by the end of the penny drive, Ms. Erma Banks’ third-grade class had raised the most money, with a total of $168.21 worth of pennies.

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“They were so excited. I’ve never seen kids so dedicated about giving,” Banks said. “We shared stories about children with leukemia when we first started so they could know and understand who they were helping and it just touched me because some of the students were giving up their snack money.”

The students were rewarded with t-shirts and a pizza party for the grand donations, but when asked what their reason for giving was, it wasn’t for the pizza.

“It just feels good,” Jason Low said.

“It makes me happy and excited-,” Kelsey Perkins said just before Johanna Carter chimed in, “I like it because we are helping others that need help.”

“I feel like a good person,” Javion Hill added with a smile.

“It makes you feel better inside,” Steven Nicholson said quietly.

As for the t-shirts, they did a great job completing the glowing faces of Timothy Bonner, Latoria Fields, Myeshia Gillon, Jesse Hilbish, Verneshia Jones, Megan Masters, Brittany Mosley, Hailey Pendergrass, Keishaun Scott, Micah Ward and their previously quoted peers.

These children have gotten an early start on making a positive contribution to life. Thus, they now understand the warm tingly feeling that helping others can create. And like third-grader Masters said, “it’s better to be happy.”