Kids collect 'Pennies for Patients'

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Bennington -- Shahala Middle School students pooled their extra coins last month to raise more than $3,500 to help children with leukemia.

The school's annual spare-change drive raises money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's "Pennies for Patients" effort,which since 1994 has gathered enough change from schools across the country to raise millions for the battle against blood cancers. The school's National Junior Honor Society oversees the Shahala fundraiser.

Humanities teacher Courtney Myers said she's particularly proud of her sixth-graders. Her block of about 80 students brought in $1,028 between Feb. 5 and Feb. 25. The school of nearly 1,100 raised a total of $3,586. Myers said this was the fourth charity event her students participated in this year.

"This is my eighth year teaching, and I have never had students so dedicated to helping others," she said. "It is a joy to be their teacher."