WASHINGTON CITY — The energy in Madelyn Bybee’s fifth grade class at Majestic Fields Elementary was palpable Thursday as the students awaited the start of a well-deserved pizza party.
But first, the class, who was joined by Principal Travis Wilstead, presented a very special check to KONY Coins for Kids, a Washington County-based nonprofit that raises funds to provide Christmas to under-privileged families in the area.
The check, which totaled $3,000.71, was the result of the school’s cumulative effort to raise money for the nonprofit during a December activity known as “Penny Wars.”
Touted as a friendly competition to promote kindness and celebrate Christmas, Penny Wars saw each classroom get a bucket, which they were to fill with pennies. Every penny in the bucket earned the class one point. However, every dollar bill in the bucket took away one point.
With a pizza party on the line for the class with the most points, the students went all out to help their class. But when Bybee’s class was struggling, the entire fifth grade chipped in to help.
According to a previous St. George News report, for several months, Bybee had been sick and absent, leaving her students in the care of substitutes. To help out, the other three fifth grade teachers volunteered to divide Bybee’s students into their own classes, leaving each class with more than 30 students each.
As a result, Bybee’s class was way far behind in the competition.
“I started to question whether you guys should have your own bucket or not,” Wilstead said to the students at the check presentation.
But the fifth graders at the school had a trick up their sleeve. They held their donations until the second to last day of the Penny Wars and catapulted Bybee’s class to the win.
“This is a really cool experience for my class to be able to have gotten something together,” Bybee said, particularly since they were split up while she was out sick.
Bybee’s class, with the help of their other classmates raised $292.13. In total the school raised $3,000. Wilstead presented the check to KONY Coins for Kids President Carl Lamar along with 99.9 KONY Country morning show co-hosts Amy Chesley and Marty Lane.
It’s money, Lamar said, that will go a long way toward helping children in Washington County have a good Christmas.
“This will be a big part of our efforts,” Lamar said of the checks. “It’s incredible … this is a great way to start off the new year.”
Wilstead said the money raised was amazing but the way it was raised was even better.
“What they raised for KONY Coins for Kids is awesome, but it just shows how great of a community we already are,” Wilstead said.
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