Salem School Penny War raises $1,500 for African library

Teacher Karla Wonoski-Straukas helps her kindergarten class put coins in the correct containers. /Photo submitted by Anne Woodward

Third graders man the tables before the rush on Friday. /Photo submitted by Anne Woodward.

A school-wide penny war at Salem School last week to help a former Salem student build a public library in Africa raised $1,520.79.

Erin Dowden, who went to school at Salem, earned a teaching degree from San Diego State, and is currently a Peace Corps volunteer in The Gambia, Africa. She is looking to raise $1,800 to complete the library for the village where she is living now. Salem School staff came up with the idea of raising the money through the penny war.

Classes competed against each other for bragging rights. Grades earned a point for every penny contributed in their grade, and they lost points for every silver coin or bill put in their container by someone from another grade.

Salem teacher Anne Woodward, one of the penny war’s organizers, shared this wrap-up:

The kindergarten won! They didn’t seem to be a huge threat, and the second grade was way ahead, so everyone put their silver in second grade. Kindergarten quietly gave lots of pennies that they had saved throughout the week and ended up the only grade with a positive point number!


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