Elementary students all over Clay County are helping the American Cancer Society gear up for its annual Relay for Life. While teams are being formed for the Relay, which will take place May 3-4 at the Brazil YMCA, the children of the community are assisting in raising money for the event through Penny Wars.
Penny Wars, a competition between the county's elementary schools, was devised in order to get the youth involved in Relay events. Each participating school in Clay County was given a large Relay for Life bucket to be placed in the school's office, cafeteria or hallway. The teachers were provided with instructions and motivational tools such as Penny Wars posters to encourage the students' efforts.
Of course many of the students were already eager to take part in the event. Natascha Bowles, a second grader at Staunton Elementary, showed her enthusiasm saying, "It's good that we're collecting money for cancer because there's cancer all over the world. We should do this every year."
Secretary Dianna Knight added that many students at Staunton Elementary are aware of cancer. They have witnessed a few classmates battle the disease and this is "the one way they feel they can help."
Since March 31, students have been depositing change in the Relay buckets. The change gathered during the first week was counted to determine which school was in the lead thus far. As of April 7, Staunton had raised the most with a total of $271.34. Jackson Township followed with $132.01, Clay City had $89.56 and Van Buren had $25.
However, the schools will continue to collect change until Friday when the American Cancer Society will count the money from each school and reveal the official winner of the "2003 Relay for Life Penny Wars." Every student in the winning school will be given a small reward and the school will receive a traveling plaque.
As an added incentive, MIX FM, a local radio station, is offering to throw a pizza party for whichever school raises the most money throughout the Wabash Valley. This "Dash for Cash" promotion involves all of the schools participating in Penny Wars from Clay, Vigo and Parke Counties.
All of the proceeds from Penny Wars and Dash for Cash, as well as from Relay for Life will go to the American Cancer Society to aid in the fight against cancer.