For the past month students at Harborview Elementary School have been nickel-and-diming - for a good cause.
In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, fifth-grade classes at Harborview and upper-grade students in the Montessori program began collecting coins in school and around the community to aid relief efforts in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. At an assembly Monday, the students sent their collective effort - estimated at about $1,000 - on its way to those in need.
Marsha Riley, executive director of the United Way in Southeast Alaska, accepted four large jars of coins from the students, as well as several posters. She said fund-raising efforts over the past six weeks have been a good way to introduce children to "the benefits of doing something for somebody else."
"When you give a gift, it does something to you inside that lasts much, much longer than when you get a gift," she told the assembled students.
Fifth-grade teacher Patrick Moore told students that their individual efforts made a big impact when combined.
"Whatever your effort has been, it has added to the whole and will send a message across the nation to New York that we care about them, that we are thinking about them," Moore said.
The fund-raising effort was multi-faceted, including a bake sale, door-to-door stops and collections at school.
Students, parents and teachers also worked to get collection jars at area businesses. Alaskan & Proud market, Carrs Quality Center, Super Bear Supermarket, Nugget Mall and ANB bingo all allowed students to place Harborview collection jars at their locations.
Montessori students Becca Freer, a sixth-grader, and Peter Erickson, a fifth-grader, said the fund-raising effort was something the whole school rallied around.
Becca said getting involved in raising money was important to her because the attacks hit close to home.
"I have lots of family back East," she said. "It's where my mom grew up."
Peter said the bake sale, held at Harborview, was very popular, netting two-thirds of the $309 total raised by his class. Many people were involved in making it a success, he said, including those who provided the sale items and the groups of students who manned the table.
Fifth-grade teacher Dawn Pisel-Davis told the students that good communication is important in today's world, and said their effort sends a positive message.
"We hope that with our donation we are helping to communicate that we care about our world," she said.
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