Students raising thousands for Area Wide United Way

Saturday, September 27, 2003

A coupon for $75 in gasoline and the opportunity to insult the town of Jackson were two incentives for contributing to the Central High School's fund raiser for Area Wide United Way this month.

Central High School's student senate raised nearly $2,300 in a raffle for the coupon and the sale of T-shirts that malign their rivals at Jackson High School.

Schools in Cape Girardeau, Jackson and surrounding areas employed competition and creativity to encourage their students to raise money.

Mark Bowles, superintendent of the Cape Girardeau School District, encouraged the competition.

"It's something we take really seriously because it's a good cause," Bowles said. "And we also enjoy a little friendly competition between schools."

Penny collections were used to raise hundreds of dollars at Central junior and high schools as well as at Franklin Elementary. Students have been dropping pennies in Franklin's "United Way Makes Cents" jugs this week, one for each grade level. The winning grade, the one with the heaviest jug, will have a pizza party after the weighing on Monday.

Central Junior High's seventh grade won the school's penny-collecting competition, which raised $462.

'A united effort'

Debbie Lusk, a teacher at Central High School, helped organize some of the fund raisers.

"Every building is doing something different, and we won't know the total that they have raised until next week," Lusk said. "We've tried to make a united effort to inspire every building to raise more money than they ever have."

Al Nicolai's freshman English class at Central raised funds with a read-a-thon that began Friday. Students will collect donations from sponsors, who pledge an amount based on the number of pages read.

"I've always enjoyed reading and I'm glad to help people by doing something that I enjoy," said Paige Pritchard, 14.

The high school's student senate was pivotal in the school's fund-raising efforts and their 71 members shouldered most of the responsibility for their projects. They even created a special board for the job, headed by seniors Corey Marchbanks and Kelli Holland.

"It was nice to know that people were willing to help," Marchbanks said. "They didn't necessarily want the $75 gas coupon, they wanted to give to the community."

"It gave teenagers a way to help," Holland said. "We don't have much money to give, but we can always pay a little extra for a T-shirt."

335-6611, extension 127

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