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See what 1 million pennies looks like at St. John's High School

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WINNIPEG -- By the end of the day next Wednesday, the gymnasium floor at St. John's High School will be carpeted with more than one million pennies to honor two co-workers who died from cancer.

The pennies were collected by the students and staff to honor former industrial arts department head Randy Engstrom, who died from brain cancer in June 2004, and former education assistant Steve Slack, who succumbed to the same type of cancer six months later.

"The one-million penny drive has truly inspired our community," said school principal Linda Bulka. "We said we would collect a million pennies before our 100th school anniversary, and we did. This is truly an honouring of the memory of Mr. Engstrom and Mr. Slack."

The penny collection was inspired by a conversation Engstrom had with another staff member in which they wondered how many people have ever seen one million things.

The pennies -- $10,000 worth -- will be donated to CancerCare Manitoba and the Canadian Cancer Society.

Students, staff, alumni and members of the general community are invited to drop by and see the penny display as part of St. John's 100th anniversary celebration next week. Other events planned include a coffee house at the school on Thursday, a north-end-style social at Canad Inns Polo Park on Friday, a Centennial Reunion Dinner and Dance Saturday at the Winnipeg Convention Centre, and a pancake breakfast and open house Sunday at the school, which is at 401 Church Ave.

murray.mcneill@freepress.mb.ca

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