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Pennies add up in McLaurin event

McLaurin Elementary School teacher Chelsea Hall’s fourth-grade class raised $319.48 for Pennies for Patients, a national initiative that supports Leukemia and Lymphoma. The entire school raised a total of $1,392.58. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

McLaurin Elementary School teacher Chelsea Hall’s fourth-grade class raised $319.48 for Pennies for Patients, a national initiative that supports Leukemia and Lymphoma. The entire school raised a total of $1,392.58. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Saving a penny could save a life. That was the goal for McLaurin Elementary School.

Materials were provided to help aid McLaurin Elementary School’s annual event, which raised $1,392.58 in mostly pennies over three weeks for Pennies for Patients, a national initiative that supports leukemia and lymphoma.

But it was math teacher Chelsea A. Hall’s fourth grade class who raised the most funds, which accumulated a total of $319.48.

Students within Hall’s class managed to save up a large sum by sacrificing goodies and sweets that could be purchased during recess.

“When I got change from the cafeteria, I would just bring dollars every time,” Michael Williams said.

Williams, 10, was not the only student who used their snack money to help those with leukemia.

“The students would give me their snack money or the change they had after buying snacks,” Hall said. “Kids like snacks, and for them to sacrifice snacks was a big deal for them. Some of these kids normally buy two or three bags of chips a day.”

Aldrick Dean, 10, said his biggest strategy to finding pennies was scraping up change in forgotten places.

“I would just dig through the conch,” he said. “People sit there and loose change could fall out of their pocket.”

However, Dean didn’t make it a point to just bring pennies, but dollars as well, which was given out of his heart.

“We get to help other people,” Dean said. “That’s all that matters.”

During the fundraiser, Hall would preach to her students that helping someone with leukemia would not guarantee safety from catching the disease, which is why it’s important to help — a sermon Tremia Reed, 10, would never forget.

“You never know when you’re at your last strength and you might need someone to help you because you gave to others,” Reed said.

Hall knew her students helping would take a lot of effort. But she was grateful.

“It takes a lot to sacrifice as a child,” Hall said. “It shows that they’re not selfish children.”

The initial goal for McLaurin Elementary School was to raise $500, but the school would exceed that amount by raising $1,392.58.

“It feels good to give because you get to help other children,” 10-year-old Ava Reese said.

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