Students Give Back

ST. MARYS — After raising almost $2,000, local middle school students celebrated by putting their teachers and administrators up to different kinds of humiliation during a Pennies for Patients assembly on Friday.

St. Marys Middle School Principal Mary Miller kissed “George,” a snake supplied by middle school teacher Pam Vossler, seventh-grade teacher Tony Arling had his face smeared with ice cream while blind-folded sixth-grade student Brett Lewis spoon-fed him and two teachers had their head shaved — eighth-grade student Sara Little shaved St. Marys Middle School Dean of Students Cory Ahrens’ head, while eighth-grade teacher Jonathan Beougher had his head shaved by eighth-grade teacher Bill Ruane — and St. Marys Middle School Guidance Counselor Rebecca Moore traded in her signature high heels for flats, which she will have to wear for a week.

“In the beginning, if we raised $1,000, Mrs. Miller, Mr. Ahrns and Mrs. Miller said they would so something,” said eighth-grade teacher Amy Wenning, who coordinated the Pennies for Patients assembly and activities throughout the week during which the school raised money for the organization. “Mr. Beougher told me if we raised $1,500 he would shave my head. I asked my classes for ideas.”

She noted Arling lost the school’s “Penny Wars” — resulting in his sentence of having to be spoon-fed ice cream by a blind-folded student.

“He ended up with a negative balance,” Wenning said.

St. Marys Middle School raised money for Pennies for Patients, which donates funds to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, during the week of March 12 — netting $1,823.64. The students raised $1,020 last year.

“We did ‘Penny Wars,’ where each teacher had a box in the library and the kids could put money in the box,” Wenning said, noting pennies and dollar bills were considered “positive” money and anything silver was considered “negative.” “The students also got to pay $1 to wear pajamas one day, they could pay $1 to wear a hat one day and they could pay $1 the last day to chew gum.”

The staff members were also able to contribute, she added.

“We also did a staff silent auction, where the staff bid for items,” Wenning said, noting local businesses donated each of the items.

Those items included a floating flashlight from Ace Hardware in St. Marys, guest cards from JT’s Brew and Grill, two rounds of golf from Northmoor, a stationery gift back from Readmore Hallmark, a rake and a trowel from Sears, two family sports passes from the St. Marys City Schools Athletic Department, a gift certificate from Spring Flowers, a free oil change from St. Marys Chrysler, a six-month subscription from The Evening Leader and a gift certificate from Varsity Lanes.

During Friday’s assembly, Wenning honored three “heroes” — Mabeline Goodwin, Madison Henschen and Joe Fargo.

“They all have some form of cancer,” Wenning said.

Wenning said she began the Pennies for Patients drive at the middle school last year when she was the student council adviser.

“The elementary schools started it years ago because of the kids who were affected by it,” she said, noting the Pennies for Patients district coordinator had contacted her asking about getting involved. “It’s a really great cause for student council to be involved in and gets the students learning about giving and to help, especially helping kids.”