Girls on the Run host penny war

Antelope Valley Press - - Front Page - VAL­LEY PRESS STAFF RE­PORT

PALM­DALE — Man­zanita Ele­men­tary School’s Girls on the Run run­ning team wrapped up a twoweek penny war fundraiser on Dec. 20, by rais­ing $1,558 for St. Jude Chil­dren’s Re­search Hos­pi­tal.

The team fea­tured 19 stu­dents in third through fifth grade.

Girls on the Run is a non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cated to cre­at­ing a world where ev­ery girl knows and ac­ti­vates her lim­it­less po­ten­tial and is free to boldly pur­sue her dreams, ac­cord­ing to a de­scrip­tion on its website.

The pro­gram in­cor­po­rates run­ning while girls learn to un­der­stand them­selves, value re­la­tion­ships and team­work, and rec­og­nize how we can all shape the world, Man­zanita Ele­men­tary Prin­ci­pal Su­san Sum­mers said.

“The life skills that th­ese young girls learn can be car­ried with them as they en­ter their up­per ele­men­tary and mid­dle school years to give them tools to suc­ceed in ev­ery sit­u­a­tion they may face grow­ing up,” she wrote in a text.

The 10-week Girls on the Run af­ter-school pro­gram cul­mi­nates in a non-com­pet­i­tive 5K.

The team met ev­ery Thurs­day and Fri­day, work­ing for the first 45 min­utes on a con­fi­dence boost­ing and char­ac­ter-build­ing cur­ricu­lum and the last 45 min­utes, in a run­ning ac­tiv­ity that puts the lessons into prac­tice.

“The girls set per­sonal goals for the week based on the lessons and fit­ness goals at prac­tice, to get them pre­pared for the 5K at the end of the sea­son,” Sum­mers wrote.

Three Sun­days ago, 16 of the 19 girls on the team drove to Whit­ter Nar­rows to run a 5K, which was the first for many of the stu­dents.

The girls ral­lied to­gether with their fam­i­lies, coaches, school staff and hun­dreds of other Girls on the Run teams from ele­men­tary and mid­dle schools all over South­ern Cal­i­for

nia and ran the twisty dirt course wet from that morn­ing’s rain.

“All our girls crossed the fin­ish line with smiles and their con­fi­dence at an all­time high,” Sum­mers wrote.

As part of a com­mu­nity out­reach project and an im­por­tant part of the Girls on the Run cur­ricu­lum, the girls on the team were re­spon­si­ble for choos­ing an or­ga­ni­za­tion or group to help. In pre­vi­ous sea­sons, the team col­lected items for peo­ple ex­pe­ri­enc­ing home­less­ness in Palm­dale or for stu­dents in the Palm­dale School District.

This year, Sum­mers said, the girls felt pas­sion­ate this hol­i­day sea­son, about help­ing chil­dren suf­fer­ing with cancer. Af­ter much re­search on what chil­dren their ages in the hos­pi­tal re­ally want, the girls de­cided that all the money they raised would help buy art sup­plies to bring some hol­i­day cheer to the youth at St. Jude Chil­dren’s Re­search Hos­pi­tal.

The team raised the nearly $1,600 through a school­wide penny war com­pe­ti­tion. Kinder­garten through fifth-grade stu­dents com­peted with each other to rack in the most points to win an ice cream party for their en­tire grade level.

This com­pe­ti­tion was not sim­ply “fill­ing your grade level with money” but be­ing strate­gic about which jar your coins were put in. In a penny war, only pen­nies and dol­lar bills are counted as pos­i­tive points, Sum­mers said.

All sil­ver coins are counted as neg­a­tive points. Ad­di­tion­ally, there were eight buck­ets with faces of dif­fer­ent teach­ers, ad­min­is­tra­tors and school staff that were an added bonus to the penny war. The goal was to fill each bucket with at least $20. If any of the buck­ets at the end of the two weeks had $20 or more in it, then the teacher fea­tured on that bucket “earned” a whipped cream pie straight to the face, by a stu­dent.

Af­ter 10 days of fundrais­ing, the Girls on the Run team held an as­sem­bly host­ing the en­tire school, where the girls not only re­vealed the amount raised, the win­ning grade level, and pied ev­ery sin­gle one of the eight school staff mem­bers, but they shared with the en­tire school, how much of a dif­fer­ence this fundraiser was go­ing to make in the com­mu­nity and how much they have been pos­i­tively af­fected by see­ing their school come to­gether in such a man­ner.

“Af­ter the as­sem­bly, the stu­dents, par­ents and staff of Man­zanita ex­ited the cafe­te­ria with faces sticky with smiles, laugh­ter, just a little bit of whipped cream, but hearts full of the hol­i­day spirit know­ing that they had made a huge change just in time for win­ter break,” Sum­mers wrote.

Photo cour­tesy of Su­san Sum­mers

Man­zanita Ele­men­tary School’s Girls on the Run team raised nearly $1,600 for St. Jude Chil­dren’s Re­search Hos­pi­tal via a Penny War com­pe­ti­tion at their school.

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