Sam Favilla and Trace Sackett help Tricia Johnson load up her car to go to the bank. This is a collection from JUST the last day of the penny war. It was over $700 in donations in just one day. Both boys, with the help of their families, donated generously toward the cause to help make some children's Christmas a little more merry.
By Ruth Hanson
When a staff member suggested to Tricia Johnson, a Triton School social worker, a plan to raise money for Santa Anonymous by collecting pennies, she hoped the project would raise enough money to buy gifts for four children.
Instead, the students and staff raised more than double her goal. They raised more then enough money for nine needy children.
Johnson explained that she set up a competition among the Middle School Houses - Hurricanes, Typhoons, Thunder and Cyclones. She called the competition a Penny War.
"We gave the Houses a point for each penny in their jar," she said. "We took away points for any silver coins or bills in their jar. At the end of the quarter, the House with the most points will be in a drawing for some very cool prizes."
The friendly competition became more than they expected. The penny war lasted nine days. Each morning the office was crowded with students putting in their donations. Students were looking in the office window to see the totals for the day. Staff members spurred on the spirit of giving by making donations as well for their House groups.
Students then set out to "bomb" other House jars with silver coins and bills.
"Unlike an actual war, this war was all about helping others, sharing what we have and spreading good cheer," Johnson said. "The kids caught on quickly, that even though they were competing to earn points for their House, there was NO loser, because in the end the money raised would help children like them have a very Merry Christmas."
The staff and students raised a total of $1,700.36 for the Santa Anonymous program. In the end there was more than $900 left over, which was donated to the Santa Anonymous program.
"I am so proud of everyone in our school and of the parents of our students who supported this project and set out to help others in this Holiday Season," Johnson said.
High school students selected tags from the trees at the two banks in town and purchased gifts for the Santa Anonymous program. This year the SADD chapter bought gifts for six children.