BEDFORD — With the help of his classmates and school faculty, Bedford North Lawrence student and sophomore class President Carson Boady organized a penny war fundraiser at the school that was able to generate money to fund the school's winter dance, as well as $500 that was donated to Bedford's Men's Warming Shelter.
A penny war is a fundraiser where individuals donate their change for a specified period of time, usually in competition to see who can raise the most money.
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At BNL, the penny war was contested between sophomore advisory or homeroom periods where any pennies in their classroom's jar would gain them points and any silver change found in their jar would lead to a point reduction, meaning that you could donate nickels, dimes and quarters to any opposing classroom's jar to lower their point total.
Updated point totals were announced during the BNL morning announcements over the school's intercom each day to further incentivize student participation.
In the end, Mrs. Crowther's advisory won the war, with a total of 17,909 points and an estimated $330 collected in their can, according to Boady, who counted the money during his lunch period each day.
"Penny wars was a success. We raised a lot of money and we gave $500 to the Men’s Warming Shelter. We are holding back some so we can fund our winter informal dance," he said.
Boady, who has a long history of involvement with student government, found a passion for charity work after participating in a fundraiser in sixth grade.
“I have always enjoyed helping others, and I like to be in positions where I can make a difference,” the student said.
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“I first realized how big of an impact student council is in our schools and our community when I was in sixth grade. I was elected from my homeroom to be in the Oolitic Middle School Student Council, and we were tasked with raising money for a charity that the sponsor had already picked out. I remember selling cans of pop out of my locker during passing periods and it worked. I was able to raise $150 over two weeks. After this event, I realized how much fun it was raising money for charity, and the hustle towards a certain goal,” Boady added.
As a student at OMS, Boady spearheaded fundraising efforts, including penny wars, which brought in around $5,000 across multiple projects.
After his previous success, Boady was motivated to help once again.
The suggestion for the Men’s Warming Shelter as a cause to support came from Boady’s teacher and sponsor of the penny war, Mrs. Kurtz.
"We didn’t have a charity initially picked out, but Mrs. Kurtz pointed out the Warming Shelter. She had been volunteering there on Tuesdays since November and they needed some help," Boady said.
"I was hoping to spark some interest in people about the Men’s Warming Shelter so that other people would donate after they saw our contribution. There are not very many options for men in the community to get some help," he explained.
According to Kurtz, Boady and his classmates assumed responsibility for the fundraiser.
“The students did all of the legwork on this and Carson created a spreadsheet for entering the amounts raised by each classroom. They went to the homerooms every day to collect the money and counted it each day. It was definitely an undertaking, but they did it all,” she said.
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Kurtz's class became “command central,” and was the main location used by Boady and fellow sophomore class officers Ava Bunch, Madalyn Spires and Liberty Strauser to count the money collected throughout the day.
“I have always joked that Carson could run the world if he wanted to, he gets things done,” Kurtz said about Boady.
Boady visited the shelter himself to present the check to Heather Beasley, director of the Men's Warming Shelter, which was a proud moment for his teacher.
"It was really cool when Carson came to the shelter to present Heather with the check because he was able to see what that money was supporting," Kurtz said.
The experience helped Boady to further understand the important of the cause he and his classmates had rallied to support.
"It was amazing to see where our money was going towards. I was able to sit down with some of the men there, and to realize this is a cause that people need to know more about," he said when speaking about the experience.
Noah Dalton is a reporter in Bedford, IN. He can be reached at email@example.com
This article originally appeared on The Times-Mail: BNL sophomore class fundraise for school dance, Men's Warming Shelter