Pennies from Dayton go to Katrina victims |

Pennies from Dayton go to Katrina victims

by Maggie O'Neill
Appeal Staff Writer

Michael Peterson, 12, a student council representative at Dayton Intermediate School, collects coins Thursday afternoon as part of a Hurricane Katrina penny drive. The students hope to raise $2,000 in the drive which ends today. Cathleen Allison Nevada Appeal

The weigh-in of pennies and other change collected Thursday afternoon at Dayton Intermediate School came to 12.5 kilograms.

But it’s not the physical weight, but the concern in student’s hearts, that had them collecting change for Hurricane Katrina relief the past two weeks at the school.

“I think it’s a really good idea,” said eighth-grader Conner Conroy, 14, vice president of the student council. “We need to help those victims out. As a school, we’ve really worked hard.”

Only a few teachers know the magic calculation of converting kilograms to dollars, but today is the day the student council representatives will actually count money to see if they broke their $2,000 goal.

“I think we’ll probably hit it,” said Principal Neil Freitas.

Because of the success of a 2001 penny drive in which Dayton Intermediate raised $1,300 to help families affected by the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, student leaders thought they could try it again and reach success.

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“I think it’s really great that we’re doing stuff like this and helping the victims of Katrina,” said seventh-grade student council representative Hailey Johnson, 12. “It’s always better to help. What else can you do?”

She and Conner and Michael Peterson, 12, also a seventh-grade student council representative, went classroom to classroom their last period Thursday dumping change from individual containers.

A few contained a handful of coins, others held several single bills mixed in with a layer of change, and one had a $10 bill inside with just a couple coins. After dumping that into a large plastic bin, they took it to the nurse’s office to weigh. The rest of the last period was spent sorting the coins.

“We decided as a student council body we’re going to donate to Red Cross,” Conner said. “They were like the first ones we thought of.”

The change will be taken to the large bin outside the main office, a bin which holds mostly pennies, a pitcher of quarters, a pitcher of dimes and two pitchers of nickels. Teacher Denise Catlin said additionally there’s probably $400 in cash safely put away.

“They probably won’t get this all counted Friday,” she said. “They only have the last class period to count, which is leadership class.”

Eighth-grader Victoria Hynick, 13, who hung out with a friend after school let out Thursday, said she brought in $20 in change.

“I had a big jar that my mom collects change in and she let me bring it in to school,” she said. “I think it’s great my school is doing this. I think it’s real nice to help the victims of Katrina.”

– Contact reporter Maggie O’Neill at or 881-1219.