Midland Elementary School fourth grader Kaleigh Papez has always dreamed of helping her favorite charity and recently had the opportunity to lend a hand.
Papez headed up a "penny war" at her school to help raise money for St. Jude's Hospital.
"Ever since I learned about the work of St. Jude's Hospital, I always hoped to help out," Kaleigh said. "I thought of doing a penny war to raise money. I talked to my principal, Mrs. (Melinda J.) Akers, and she thought it was a great idea."
The Inter-Mountain photo by Beth Christian Broschart
Kaleigh Papez, right, along with her sister, Jackie Papez, fill containers with pennies and coins during a ‘penny war’ to benefit St. Jude’s Hospital. More than $1,400 was presented to hospital representatives.
Kaleigh said her step-father Rob Henline visits St. Jude's Hospital every January.
"I have always wanted to visit St. Jude's but you have to be 16 to be a visitor," Kaleigh said. "Maybe I will get to go when I turn 16."
For the penny war, jars were placed in each classroom and pennies and silver change were collected from April 22 until May 3.
"When the change was taken to the bank and counted, the amount collected in coins added up to $1,426.05," Akers said. "I promised Kaleigh if the amount was more than $1,000 that we would have a school dance.
"Every year we try to do something that teaches the students community service," Akers said. "When Kaleigh asked about doing the project, I was completely on board."