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Charleroi Elementary Center students not pinching pennies for fundraiser

| Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, 7:36 p.m.
Students in Brianne Rosendale's second-grade class proudly display the $500 check from C. Harper Chevrolet Buick Cadillac, which the business donated for the the Charleroi Elementary Center's Pennies for Patients campaign.

When second-grade teacher Brianne Rosendale and fourth-grade teacher Shaun Rice each took a pie in the face from students, it was all in good fun — an incentive for students at Charleroi Elementary Center to raise money for a good cause.

Three weeks later, the Pennies for Patients campaign culminated with a near record total.

In three years, the Pennies for Patients campaign has raised nearly $15,000, benefiting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

This year's campaign raised $4,976.12, topping last year's total of $4,537.20. The first year was the school's biggest, raising $5,324.46.

Students in kindergarten, first and second grade as well as third through fifth grade competed for two days prior to the Sept. 27 kickoff for the right to pick an unsuspecting teacher for the pie in the face.

Charleroi Elementary Center guidance counselor Tara Johnson, guidance counselor at Charleroi Elementary Center, and Rosendale began the campaign in 2011.

The campaign each year pits grade levels against each other in a challenge to collect the most pennies, deposited in water jugs placed in each classroom.

Students can sabotage another grade level's efforts by placing coins of bills in another classroom's jugs. All non-pennies in a particular jug are counted against the total penny count.

This year, the fifth grade won with the highest “positive total.” For their efforts, they received a pizza party lunch, donated by Salatino's River House in Charleroi, and music by DJ Jeff Biddle.

They unseated the third grade, which had won the two previous penny drives as first grade students in 2011 and in second grade in 2012.

Charleroi Elementary students have finished second two years in a row among competing schools in the Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. They won't learn their placement until the spring for the current campaign.

Bank of America representatives visited the school every two to three days during the drive, collecting the pennies. The coins are deposited in the Coin Star system at the Fisher Heights Giant Eagle, which automatically counts the total and deposits the donations with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

This year, the school reached out to local businesses, seeking donations.

C. Harper Chevrolet Buick Cadillac donated $500, while Lee Supply gave $250, Highway Appliance and television in Dunlevy donated $50 and Speers Street Grille gave $25.

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or