STRONG – The students and staff of the Strong Elementary School and the people in the surrounding communities joined hearts and hands to participate in a penny drive to benefit the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

A jar decorated by teacher Ann Burdin’s niece, Kaitlyn Burdick, with the mottos “Pennies Make a Strong Difference” and “Strong Kids Have Big Hearts” was placed in the school rotunda. Notes were sent home and the collection began on Sept. 7. Families arrived at the school barbecue with piggy banks in hand. By the end of the first evening, the jar was almost full.

Students and staff, parents and friends continued to donate for the next two weeks. A couple from Eustis called and donated their penny savings. The Strong PTO, Best Buy Supply Store and Student Council each donated $200.

The grand finale included Hat Day in which students donated a quarter in order to wear a hat all day in school.

On Sept. 27, Greg Michaels of 92 Moose in Augusta attended a school assembly. A poem, “Hurricane Katrina,” written by third-graders was read. A check for $1,556.60 was presented and will be added to the 92 Moose Million Penny Challenge and sent to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

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