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Middle school 'Penny War' raises money to help fight childhood cancers

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
Glassford Hill Middle School teacher Cheryl Taylor gets pied and egged after her class lost the “Penny War” against Jackie Kemsley’s class. The money raised went to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

PRESCOTT VALLEY - In its initial foray into the Penny Wars, the students at Glassford Hill Middle School raised more than $1,550 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

The payoff for the students, in addition to class rewards, was seeing two of their teachers with whipped cream on their faces Monday afternoon.

Jackie Kemsley, who assists in Larry Nichols' ACE (Academic and Character Enlightenment) class, shoved a whipped cream pie into teacher Cheryl Taylor's face.

Kemsley represented the class with the highest points - 8,600, while Taylor's class had the lowest points - a negative 21,080. Despite the negative points, Taylor's class collected the most money for childhood cancer patients - $229.50.

Penny War is a spirited fundraiser used by schools to raise money for charity.

Seventh-grader Syrena Bergau thought the Penny War "was actually fun. It was a huge activity."

Bergau added that the event created a lot of competition between classes, and school officials should "definitely do it again next year."

The object of the "war" is for each class to collect as many pennies as possible. Each penny equals one point. The war is not just about collecting the most pennies. Students can sabotage other classes by putting silver coins and bills in the collection jugs. The face value of the coins and dollars reduces the number of points earned from pennies - a quarter results in the loss of 25 points.

In addition to a pie in her face, Taylor's class, with the highest dollar amount, earned a Popsicle party.

Kemsley and Nichols' class, with the highest number of points, earned an Olive Garden pasta party.

Teacher Sarah Collins, who helped assistant principal Sandra Clark organize the Penny War, indicated that Taylor encouraged her students to put silver and bills into the jug in their room. According to Collins, Taylor also promised her students she would wear a dress if they lost (something she hasn't done in 10 years). As an added incentive, Taylor told her students they could egg her - with students contributing $1 for each raw egg.

Students put their pennies in water jugs during their ACE class. The jugs were supplied by Arrowhead Water of Prescott.

However, Taylor was not the only teacher to get a pie in the face.

As the loser of the face-box contest, Leta Barnes pied winner Larry Kreutter.

Members of the Arizona Adrenaline indoor football team were on hand to help the middle-school students celebrate.

The players and mascot "Rocket" kept the kids pumped up and talked to them about the importance of staying in school.

Glassford Hill Middle School will end its fundraising efforts for childhood cancer with "Stuck for A Buck" Wednesday.

Students can buy a piece of duct tape and tape staff members to a wall during the lunch periods. Clark noted that after this event, the total amount collected for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society should top $1,800.

Bergau said the students enjoyed the Penny War, and helping the fight against childhood leukemia.

However, in typical middle school fashion, the best part was seeing a teacher get hit in the face with a pie.


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