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Multiplying money? St. Anne's students were up to challenge

Students give Rev. Tom Thompson the funds they earned to benefit the school and its programs.

Give a kid $5 and what would he do with it?

For the St. Anne's students, the answer was simple: multiply it.

Rev. Tom Thompson, pastor at St. Anne's Church, wanted to challenge the students with a real-life exercise from the Bible.

He gave each class, grade K-4, $5; he gave each class, grades 5-8, $10. He told the group that in one month, he wanted to see how each class could increase that $100 to raise money for the church and school.

Cleo Wenzel, first grade teacher, said her students discussed bringing in money earned from allowances and extra jobs at home, but that wasn't bringing in enough.

"Then someone suggested we have a sale," Wenzel said. "In 10 enthusiastic minutes, the students decided they could bring baked goods, create hand-made books and art for sale, and bring in gently used stuffed animals, toys and books to sell."

The first graders arranged an after-school sale, setting up their wares across tables. They were able to raise $190.59 - not counting their original $5.

"The students were excited about Father Tom's challenge and didn't even consider spending the money (on personal use)," Wenzel said. "The hardest part was thinking of what we could do to bring in more money."

Wenzel's class designated the money be used for the technology fund for the computer lab.

Karla Mallery's third graders took a different approach to the project.

"We decided against selling anything since other classes were doing that," Mallery said. "We decided it would be fun to perform a play."

Mallery wrote the play "When Your Feet Can Reach the Pedals." It was about a group of third graders who learn that coming up money isn't so easy, and it takes hard work to earn.

"I was impressed that the students were able to memorize their lines," Mallery said. "They made their own backdrops and came up with their own costumes."

"It was hard to make the poster," Aaron Riley, third grader, said. "Also memorizing the lines was a little difficult."

The play was performed on a free will offering. At the end, the students raised $321.20.

"I was excited because we had earned over $300 and kindergarten raised $250 so we had over $500 total dollars for physical education equipment," Burke Meader, third grader, said.

The students presented the fruits of their labor to Thompson at Mass on Wednesday, Nov. 19. According to Principal Randall Stanke, the final count raised was $890.66. The funds will go toward gym equipment, computer lab, art supplies, library materials and math programs.

Terra Stock's two children's classes held a "no-bake" bake sale and sold handmade greeting cards. She said she was impressed with the unselfishness the kids demonstrated.

"I was just so moved by all the hard work and pride the kids had for this project," Stock said. "And at Christmas - a time when kids are usually more concerned with what they want."

Riley said when his class first got the $5, he had his own ideas on how to use it.

"I wanted to spend it on a toy action figure," Riley said. "But I felt happy that I did it. I felt proud also because I told the people that didn't come to our play what we did."