The power of pennies 

Castellanos Elementary students raise more than $900 in one week to help victims of the Haiti earthquake.

By Israel Perez | February 01, 2010

The idea of the “power of pennies” came from a discussion in Daniel Finley’s 5th grade class at Castellanos Elementary School, 2524 S. Central Ave.


The class was talking about current events, as they do every Monday, when one student mentioned the earthquake in Haiti. The students then asked their teacher if there was anything they could do to help those in need.


The students then came up with an idea: The power of pennies. The meaning behind the campaign was that “a cent—worth so little—can go a long way once we add them up.”


“Once the idea was put out on the table, the students just ran with it,” said Finley.


The students were in charge of going class to class and asking for spare change. And of course they got more than just pennies.


Integrating a math lesson into the project, Finley put students in charge of their own accounting and reporting to the school. The daily amounts collected were announced every morning over the PA system.


After doing this project the students became more aware of the efforts that are being administered in Haiti. Each night the students would go home and read a newspaper article or watch the evening news to learn more about Haiti.


In just one week of fundraising, Finley’s 5th grade class collected $958.01. The class wants to ensure that the money collected goes to help Haitian children.


“I would have never expected to see this much money in one week’s time,” Finley said.


Last week CPS also announced its own district-wide Haiti Relief effortLearn more about Castellanos Elementary School.



What did you think about this story? Give us your feedback. Better yet, tell us a story about your child’s school. Share your story.