Pennies for Parkside
Good of Goshen story submitted by Alicia K. Smith
In 2013, Chamberlain Elementary School was the proud recipient of a new playground. Our old playground was pretty beat up and not much fun for the kids. That all changed due to the support and generous donations from community members. Because our students at Chamberlain are so appreciative of the new playground, they want students throughout the district to be able to have as much fun as them at recess.
The Chamberlain PTO recently learned that Parkside Elementary School was approximately $4000 short of their goal for their new playground. Parkside has collected Box Tops for the past several years to put towards their playground fund. They have also collected their own pennies, hosted school wide competitions, received donations from LifePoint Church, Swihart Memorial, and various other contributions from the community. They even had a dunk tank as a fundraiser First Fridays where people could dunk the Police Chief, Fire Chief, and Mayor Stutsman!
Even with all this work, funds are still needed, so the Chamberlain PTO decided to pay it forward –– and we wanted our students to help. Just before Winter Break began, the PTO announced that we would start a “Penny War” that would run January 3, 2017 through January 27, 2017. Pennies count as positive points and silver coins count as negative points. The winner of the penny wars (the class with the most points) will get to take a field trip to Parkside. At Parkside, they will get to have lunch and recess with a class of the same grade and then present the school with a check for their playground.
We came back from winter break on January 3rd to the official start of the penny wars. As I was getting dressed to come to school that day, I could hear my second grader in his room counting pennies from his piggy bank. He was ready to go! I hoped all of the other students shared the same enthusiasm as my son did. In the first week of our penny wars (a 4-day week) our students raised $790.69 –– 345 students collected this much change in just four days!
Chamberlain is an Expeditionary Learning (EL) school, and EL schools challenge students to think critically and take active roles in not just the classroom, but the community as well. At Chamberlain, we practice our Habits of Scholarship in everything we do. One of those habits is compassion. It’s through projects like the Penny War that I see our students truly display compassion.
At recess with the third graders the other day, I asked a student if he knew why we were having the penny wars. He said, “We are helping another school raise money for their playground.”
Happy to know he knew why we were having a penny war, I inquired as to what his favorite part of the penny war was, “I like that even if we lose, we are still doing something good.”
His answer was so simple, yet truly displayed the compassionate hearts of our students.
My son, Jayce, is extremely competitive (no idea where that comes from), so when I told him things weren’t looking too hot for his class in the penny wars, I expected a different answer.
His response made me proud, “Mom, I am okay losing the penny war as long as the kids at the other school get their playground.”
His response may have also encouraged me to buy $20 more worth of pennies for him to bring in over the course of the next three weeks.
After totaling up money raised each day, I am in awe of the generosity our students displayed. These kids have surpassed my expectations –– but for them it has been no big deal.
Good of Goshen story submitted by Alicia K. Smith.
Alicia is the bookkeeper for Chamberlain Elementary School, a member of the Chamberlain PTO, the treasurer for Goshen Stars, and the mother to a 2nd grade rockstar.