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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Students take part in unique experience for party

Friday, September 30, 2011

Van Buren Elementary School Principal Gail Williams noses one of the cows after shoveling its deposit in the pasture behind the school as part of the Cow-a-Bunga Bingo festivities Friday morning while former VBES teacher Martha Knox watches. [Order this photo]
The cow pie marked the spot at Van Buren Elementary School (VBES) Friday morning.

VBES students and faculty gathered around an 88 square grid anxiously waiting for one of the two brown and white cows to make their "deposit" to determine whose class would win the coveted pizza and movie party.

"We have presently been involved in an unusual fundraiser that we named Cow-a-Bunga Bingo," VBES fifth-grade teacher Janine Mullinix said. "We have been collecting spare change from our entire student body with those bringing in at least $1 receiving a cow pencil."

The cow patty bingo event was part of a fundraiser for VBES's fifth-grade class.

VBES students raised $900, which will go toward the fifth-graders special trips to Chicago and the ISU field campus and the end-of-the-year party.

Students of all ages and grades have been raising money since last Wednesday for their fifth-grade classmates.

Every $10 the children raised gave their respective classes another square on the painted grid.

"We went home and searched in the couch cushions and in between the seats of the car to find money to donate," VBES fifth-grader Eden Siples told The Brazil Times.

The number assigned to each square corresponded to the numbers each class chose, and the more money the class raised, the higher their chances of winning their own pizza and movie party.

"We have been stressing the concept of probability throughout the fundraiser," Mullinix said. "In addition, the boys and girls have counted money and watched the progress thermometers (displayed in the VBES hallway) rise from where we have tracked the donations totals."

Retired fifth-grade teacher Martha Knox brought in her two cows to decide the winners.

In the end, Ruger, the male cow, "chose" Jeff Walker's second-grade class to receive the pizza and movie party.

"We weren't expecting to win because the other classes brought more money than we did," Walker said. "I told the kids not to get their hopes up because our probability was low."

In addition to teaching math and helping fifth-graders take special trips, the Cow-a-Bunga Bingo also taught students good sportsmanship and that sometimes no matter how good one's probability is, the odds of chance can still overcome.

"I am really excited another class won because everything they did went to help our class," Mullinix, whose class raised $211 and had 21 squares, said.

Before the competition began VBES Principal Gail Williams agreed to shovel the cow patty if the school could raise $250.

"We surpassed that goal the first day," Mullinix explained. "So then I asked her if she'd kiss the cow if we raised $500 and she agreed to that too."

Williams said she was glad to help encourage school spirit.

"We do something funny like this every year, whether it's to challenge the kids to read or something else," Williams said. "One year I got slimmed. I don't mind getting dirty to help them however I can."

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