Penny wars and letters from school

A few days ago I mentioned that a young man at my school launched a fundraising campaign for Ugandan children. Three weeks ago we launched a penny war among the first hour classes. In our penny war, pennies, dollar bills (of any amount), and checks counted as a positive toward a class total, and silver change counted as negative. After week one, my first hour class was in 4th place with a +$57 total. That means that we gave more, but the silver change thrown into our jar by students in other first hour classes counted against us. Week 2, we were in first place with +$150–again, that is after the silver had been deducted from our total, so we actually gave more. After week 3, we were still in the lead with +$195 after being barraged with silver change all week. Last week, though, we were bombed by silver change every day. In one day alone, over $100 in silver change was put in our jar. My students quickly pulled out their wallets and purses and threw $60 in bills on top  of it all. It was so awesome! I kept an informal tally of how much money we collected last week, and we collected well over $333 just last week, but everybody was throwing their silver change at us because we had been in the lead the last three weeks. Well, the penny wars ended on Monday and the winners were announced today. We came in second with a final total of $465.00. The top team had $585.00. They won, fair and square, and we congratulated them. But later we discovered that our class was by far, the top money raiser when you combined all the money that was put in our jar–pennies, silver change, bills, or checks. As it turns out, our first hour collected $911, which represents almost 20% of the overall school total. I am so proud of these kids I cannot even begin to tell you. It has been inspiring, humbling, wonderful, spirit-lifting to see these teens give and give and give every day for a month. They are a testament to how much (maybe even most) of what people say about their age group is dead-wrong. They are compassionate, smart, resourceful, and driven… when they want to be. It is such an honor to get to spend my days with them.

On another note: We received a note from G’s kindergarten teacher. It seems Little Miss G has been “sneaking” her work into the “done” basket  without even being close to finished. Her teacher sent home three examples of the same assignment. The first try had only 2 of 10 components completed. The second try had more finished, but not completed. On the third try she had to stay in from recess and complete the work in the office, and she completed it perfectly. So tonight, actually, right now, Little Miss G, her daddy and I will be having a talk. I’ll report back later and let you know how it goes.

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