Students in the Louis Riel School Division gave a lesson in giving this week when they dropped off hundreds of kilograms of coins they collected to help the Christmas Cheer Board.
The students and staff of all the schools in the division concluded their month-long campaign to raise money in their Pennies from LRSD drive, which feeds into the Winnipeg Free Press' annual Pennies from Heaven fundraiser -- with a festive drop-off at the division's administrative building.
Students carried coffee cans, milk jugs, boxes covered with wrapping paper and pails all filled with a mixture of copper-coloured coins, silver and dollar bills.
Decked out with a Santa hat and standing near two dozen division-staff-turned-carollers, division superintendent Duane Brothers said the division's pennies fundraising drive each December fits in nicely with the students' education.
"People are swamped right now with the south St. Vital reorganization going on and a new school planned for Sage Creek -- but they still raised money," Brothers said. "And as pennies disappear, I'm sure you'll see a bit more creativity in how we demonstrate citizenship. They'll have exciting projects coming up."
âcole Varennes Grade 8 students Caleb May and Faith Mukanik, along with their vice-principal Sharad Srivastava, were the first to arrive with their contribution.
Srivastava said the students raised $1,145 in a rummage sale and an unknown amount from a silver collection through the school's classrooms.
"The rummage sale went very well, and it fit with our focus on being green and sustainable as well," he said.
"We went to every class and asked for donations," May said.
"I make cinnamon buns every year and this year I made 40 of them and they were gone in five minutes."
Faith added: "We had fun."
Once the students dropped off their school's donation at a panel truck outside, they went inside the division offices where they were rewarded with cookies and juice and serenaded by Dakota Collegiate's recently formed pep band.
Fifteen students were playing trumpets, clarinets, flutes, drums -- and even an overturned plastic trash can -- and covering tunes ranging from morale boosters to Black Sabbath.
"We decided to come at the last minute just this morning," said band director Darrin Ritchie.
"We play at football games and we're going to play for other sports. I believe we're the only pep band in the city."
Andy, a 15-year-old student with special needs at Dakota, arrived after helping raise more than $1,700 at the school with 14 others in the skills for living program.
"I had the most fun going to classrooms," Andy said.
Educational assistant Robert Guenette said the 15 students collected money every day for nine days from students in the entire school with the class donating the most winning a pizza party.
"We thought with no more pennies this year that the donations might be down this year, but when we counted them we collected five per cent more money than last year," Guenette said.
Holding the Glenwood School mascot, a large stuffed grizzly bear between them, Grade 8 students Anna McConnell and Pamela Buhler said their fellow students were great about donating.
"Everyone was really generous," McConnell said.
Their principal, Troy Reinhardt, said the students are also putting together eight to 10 hampers to assist families who need help.
"Our kids are generously crazy. Our kids just jumped all over this," he said.