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Two Bethesda Schools Raise More Than $25,000 in Nine Years for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

By Evelyn Rabil, Patch.com

1745 days ago   Article ID# 1469002
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Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

BETHESDA, MARYLAND (Patch.com) - Two Bethesda schools raising money for Pennies for Patients join the ranks of the Pennies Elite Team, a group of schools that have reached the 10-year mark fundraising for the program that benefits The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Bannockburn Elementary School and Bethesda Country Day School raised $25,080 combined in the past nine years, according to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The funds go toward cures for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, as well as to help patients and their families.

“We had a lot of schools that have been involved throughout the entire process so we wanted to acknowledge the hard work they have put in and their commitment to raising money every year for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society,” said Shelby Gosnell, campaign coordinator for the society. The schools join 13 other “elite pennies” in the region, which includes D.C. and the surrounding counties.

Roughly 370 kindergarten through fifth-grade students at Bannockburn Elementary School on Dalroy Lane have added another $1,486.45 to the pot after a nine-day fundraising campaign that ended Jan. 18, according to Susan Shipp, the school PTA’s community service committee coordinator.

“It’s not our biggest fundraiser by dollars but it truly is the kids’ money,” Shipp said.

The school features a different fundraiser almost every month: a “Jump Rope for Heart” for the American Heart Association around Valentine’s Day, coat and book drives, and bake sales, Shipp said, but Pennies for Patients is different. The students collect coins from their piggy banks, search beneath couch cushions and ask family members for spare change instead of simply asking adults to write checks, she said.

Cash and checks but mostly change filled the water cooler jug in the school office as students poured in the contents of their collection boxes every day, coming up just $500 short of the school’s $10,000 goal for the 10-year mark, she said.

“We do it in memory of Clare Schmidt, who was a Bannockburn student when she passed away from leukemia,” Shipp said. The Pennies for Patients tradition began shortly after doctors diagnosed Schmidt in 2001, she said.

Each year, the tally is little higher. This year the students raised about $100 more than last year and approximately $916 more than 2009, she said.

“Our message is that you can make a difference no matter how small,” Shipp concluded.

The small students of Bethesda Country Day School, a private preschool on Beech Avenue, proved this last year by raising roughly $5,000.

“We’ve done exceptionally well every year, with last year being our biggest year,” said Jamellah Reid, Bethesda Country Day School’s assistant principal. “We were the only preschool among the top 20 schools in the metropolitan area -- Maryland, D.C. and Virginia.”

While Bannockburn’s fundraising has already ended for the year, Bethesda Country Day School begins its 10th annual campaign on March 5, with the goal of raising another $5,000, according to Reid.

“Our hallways are turned into a flea market for three weeks,” Reid said of the fundraising efforts last year. “We have 14 classrooms and outside of every classroom there were little tables set up with books, gift baskets, artwork, bake sales and in the morning, we were doing coffee and donuts.”

During pick-up and drop-off times, families visited the booths. “It was like a marketplace,” Reid said.

“These children are natural-born sellers; it’s amazing what they will do,” said Bethesda Country Day School Principal Judy McClimans of the approximately 280 students. “They’re very excited about this every year.”

Another Bethesda school, Walter Johnson High School on Rock Spring Drive, ranked third nationally last year for the Pennies program, raising more than $100,000 in seven years, but the school is just a few years’ short of qualifying for the Pennies Elite Team, Gosnell said.

The school will hold its sixth annual Burrito Mile fundraiser at Tilden Middle School on Old Georgetown Road on Saturday at 9 a.m., according to the event press release. Competitors must eat a Qdoba Mexican Grill burrito at the designated eating station, keep it down and run four laps. The cost is $15 to compete, $10 to watch and $5 for each extra burrito.

Copyright 2016 Patch.com   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 1745 days ago   Article ID# 1469002

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