October 30, 2013 -- It started with a second-grader’s idea, and some loose change in a small plastic sand pail—and ended with a big check presentation to the Glens Falls Hospital’s Cancer Center, and school community support for neighbors battling cancer.
Jackson Heights student Jack Sweet came up with the idea to collect “Pennies for Pink” on Wednesdays during October. “Kids can wear pink each Wednesday of the month and bring in pennies that will be donated to the Glens Falls Cancer Center,” Jack wrote in a message to Superintendent Paul Jenkins, asking for permission to begin the fundraiser. “I mean, if they want to wear pink each day and donate pennies, they can do that too.”
And donate they did! The first Wednesday, Jack’s class raised more than $34 dollars in change. The second week brought in $112. Teacher Amanda Clough said at the check presentation assembly that she had to ask donors to keep their change until Wednesdays, since she was getting bombarded with supporters stopping into the classroom each day.
Under Jack’s leadership, the entire class pitched in to help with the effort. Students made signs to hang around the school hallways, collected change, counted the coins, and made pink ribbons for each donor.
“We are all community together, friends and family,” said Jack. “We should help one another, after all, Jackson means Action.”
Mr. Jenkins was impressed that Jack wanted to take on the challenge, and agreed that Glens Falls is a tight community where all are willing to help where it is needed. “I think this would be a great opportunity for you and the entire community to pitch in,” he wrote to Jack. “We have all been affected by cancer in one way or another, either through a family member, a friend, or a co-worker. It is a terrible disease and anything we can do to help is huge.”
The buckets of change added up to quite a big donation by the end of October. And on the 30th, Jack presented the check to officials from the Glens Falls Hospital Foundation during a school-wide assembly in the Jackson Heights gym.
At the presentation, Mrs. Clough was visibly moved by the students’ dedication to the project—and the spirit of community it evoked. “I think you helped our whole school become very aware of our community,” she said. “And I have to tell you, that while we were counting, I was just so proud of all of you for wanting to give so much, and of my class for all the work that they did. So really nice job!”
As she recounted their month-long efforts, she noted that the tally had reached $382.35 during the final week of collection. “But Mrs. Clough hadn’t donated yet,” she said with a grin. She then asked the second-graders to announce the final total that was headed to the cancer center. “Four hundred dollars!” the class screamed, to cheers from the audience.
Vickie Yattaw, RN, and Claudia Higgins from the Glens Falls Hospital Foundation accepted the large construction paper check, and thanked all of Jackson Heights students and staff for their efforts.
“The money will go towards transportation costs for people undergoing cancer treatment at the Hospital,” said Ms. Higgins. “We provide $25 gas cards for patients in active treatment, so they can get to their appointments.”