William Mason Elementary School embarked on the 2019-2020 academic year with big goals for the school’s annual “Pennies for Patients” fundraiser. “Pennies for Patients” is a national initiative that raises funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The highly successful campaign launched as a “Bring the Change” Spirit Week program in mid-November and concluded in mid-December 2019.
“Our goal as school was to raise $5000,” said L. Teresa Gorgia. The School Counselor added: “That’s a Big Goal!”
When the school’s “Pennies for Patients” drive concluded just before the district’s winter break, the K-5 students of William Mason Elementary had raised $5822.48.
Harper Goodstein, a first grader, had raised $928. Additionally, fifth graders Anna, Brian and Brielle Melzer and first, third and fourth grade students Elizabeth, William and Ella Albanese joined forces and made items to sell. All the proceeds they received were donated to the “Pennies for Patients” campaign.
“It made me feel good helping people who needed my help,” Goodstein said. “I only asked a few people and my whole family helped me raise more money.”
Indeed, throughout the school, families and faculty went above and beyond to not only meet the school’s increased goal but to exceed it by nearly $1000.
As a school community, William Mason initially structured the “Pennies for Patients” program as a “Bring the Change” donation project. Events such as “Pajama Penny Day,” “Neon Nickle Day,” Dazzling Dimes Day,” and “Crazy Quarters Day,” encouraged students to wear pajamas and bring in pennies or wear something shiny and bring in dimes. Students and staff brought in change daily. But as the school community inched closer to the $5,000 goal, more and more students and faculty involved friends, family and neighbors. Collecting change, selling items and taking donations on-line became extensions of the school community’s commitment to the project.
Money raised for the “Pennies for Patients” campaign helps to fund lifesaving cancer research and provide services for patients, many of whom are children. Services, and lifesaving research, bring help and hope to thousands of people battling cancer.
“I am dedicated to fundraising for this cause,” said Certified School Nurse Elizabeth D. Wigley.
Wigley has been organizing the “Pennies for Patients” program at William Mason for many years. “I am dedicated to helping give HOPE to so many battling this disease.”
Currently in remission, Wigley’s daughter battled Leukemia.
“I am dedicated to continue fundraising to bring awareness and raise donations to help many still battling, and to fund more research for CURES in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society!” Wigley added.
“Carrying out a random act of kindness with no expectation of reward, helps students learn valuable lessons,” Gorgia said of the students’ dedication to the project. “Empathy, compassion and thoughtfulness for others, are just a few of those lessons. We are blown away by the support, and cannot thank the William Mason students, families and staff members enough. We are so proud of all our students!”
William Mason is one of seven Montville Township Public Schools. Located in Montville, New Jersey, it is home to 226 kindergarten to grade five students. William Mason Elementary School was named a National School of Character by Character.org in 2019.