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Pratt Elementary students raise $1K+ in penny drive

By Clint Thomas, Metro Reporter
Pratt Elementary School preschool students presented a check for $1,025 recently to the CAMC Foundation, earned in a “Pennies for Preemies” fund drive. Pictured behind the children, from left to right, are Pratt counselor Rae Anne Zuckett, Principal Jackie Hersch, preschool teacher Linda Lancianese, third-grade teacher Ashley Weber and preschool aide Kristi Jackson-Foster. Photo courtesy Kanawha County Schools

Preschool students at Pratt Elementary School showed a lot of good “cents” and fundraising moxie for a good cause recently.

The youths presented CAMC Foundation representatives with a check at the Upper Kanawha Valley school, following a penny collection drive, in late March. The students bestowed the check, representing $1,025 worth of pennies they accumulated, to the CAMC Women and Children’s Hospital Newborn Intensive Care Unit on Charleston’s West Side.

The penny drive, dubbed “Pennies for Preemies,” was conducted among Pratt Elementary students from Feb. 6 to March 3. The fundraising competition was inspired by staff members after Pratt Elementarty third-grade teacher Ashley Weber’s newborn twins, Morgan and Colton, spent several weeks in the hospital’s NICU. Weber showed students photos of her family’s NICU experiences at the drive’s kickoff assembly on Feb. 6.

The donated funds will be used to supply blankets for prematurely born babies, as well as preemie clothing, hats and socks for the unit to use.

Pratt classes have participated in other fundraisers for other charitable causes. In 2015 and 2016, pennies were collected to donate to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The 2015 drive raised $963, and last year’s fundraiser garnered $610.

“We’ve done other coin drives and so forth, but when Ashley Weber’s twins spent several weeks in the NICU, she noticed things there that they needed,” Pratt Elementary Principal Jackie Hersch said. “That’s what spurred it on. When we kicked off the campaign, she brought the babies in and showed the children how they look now and how they looked then.

“Every week, we took money to the bank to be counted, so we could keep a running tally to see who’s ahead. We really do it up,” she said.

The Pratt preschool class raised the most money this year, earning an ice cream party for their philanthropic efforts, Hersch said.

The principal said there are other assets to what has become a yearly endeavor at the school.

“This is a rural school -- we’re almost at the Fayette County line,” Hersch said, “and it’s very poverty stricken up here, but they just brought the coins. A lot of kids in this community are used to receiving, and we want them to feel what it is like to give to those in need. It didn’t require a lot of money, just change they could bring in.

“They learn to give from their heart,” Hersch said.


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