After hearing about the damages done by fourth-grader Shawn DeFina, of Fenton’s wanted to help. As a result, Tomek-Eastern students had a penny drive this week, for the American Red Cross to use in aiding the hurricane victims.
On Thursday morning, Shawn and fellow Tomek-Eastern students Aaron Toth, Brendan Alward, and Alex Dinstett stood inside the front of the school. At a table, they displayed plastic containers of pennies, dollars and other change. Students hurried to drop donations into the containers as they went to class.
"So far, it's awesome," Brendan said.
The boys predicted their classroom, teacher Sheila Best's students, would win.
Each container is labeled with the name of a classroom teacher. The class collecting the most donations for Hurricane Sandy victims will receive an ice cream party, Brendan said. The second place class will have a candy party.
Recent estimates show that the cleanup effort could cost up to $71 billion dollars in New York and New Jersey, according to U.S. News.
Two weeks ago, Shawn asked his teacher whether students could collect toys and supplies to help the hurricane victims. She encouraged him to dig deeper to see exactly what the victims might need, Best said. He recruited the three other boys to help with research in the library, computer lab and at home on charities in the area impacted by the hurricane.
“We started doing research,” Aaron said.
“After a few days, they came back with the idea of an American Red Cross Penny Drive,” Best said.
The four boys wrote a proposal and presented it to Principal Brett Young. Shawn said the principal agreed to the penny drive, so they did it.
The students created posters for the school and made announcements on the school intercom system encouraging the students to participate, Best said.
“So far, it’s awesome,” Brendan said.
The penny drive ends on Friday. They will give the money they collect to the American Red Cross, Alex said.
The four agreed it felt good to help others.
“The initiative taken by these boys, my whole class, and this amazing school makes me so proud to be a part of the Fenton School District,” Best said. “This month alone we have or are currently working on three action projects… and the American Red Cross Penny Drive.
"It is so inspiring to see children taking action to make a difference in our world," she said.