Kingman Middle School (KMS) kids had been busy for three weeks with what was called a penny war to benefit Western Arizona Humane Society. It had been raining pennies from heaven at KMS.


The project was initiated by the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS), and has raised, at last count, $500. KMS Cambridge math teacher and sponsor for NJHS Wallis Alexander said, “We saw a need in the community, and we were looking for a service project for our students, and thought that they always needs funding, so we thought a penny war would be a great way to raise funds.”

It was both a way to raise funds for the humane society and for KMS students to have a little fun as well. The fun was a positive and negative point system which was attached to the coins and supplies donated and a competition between classrooms. The object was that students could either add coins or supplies in their classroom for plus points, or they could add coins or supplies to their opponent's classrooms to create negative points for those classrooms. At the conclusion of the penny war, the negative and positive points in all classes were tallied, and the class with the most points was awarded a pizza party.

Lisa Nikodym, KMS assistant principal said, “The idea is you want your first period teacher to have the most points, so kids put pennies in their teacher’s jar, or they sneak into the classrooms and put silver coins in other teacher’s jars.” Nikodym jovially added, “And it’s gotten a little crazy around here. We’ve had these kiddos bringing in things from canned dog food to toys for pets and all of these different things.”

At deliver of these pet items to the humane society, a worker there informed the students that they needed blankets for their kennels. Regarding the need for blankets, Nikodym said, “For one day only, Monday, we said any blanket is 2,000 points, and I bet we brought in 40 or 50 blankets.”

At delivery of the blankets to WAHS, the students were then informed that kitty litter was also a great need. Regarding this need, Alexander said, “They needed kitty litter so we ran a kitty litter bonus day, and we’ve already got about 60 bags of kitty litter.” Alexander continued, “We just saw a need, and as a service organization, NJHS, we fulfilled that need.”

Jan. 31 was the last day of the penny war, and the points were tallied. The students in the winning class celebrated with a pizza party. Nikodym said about the last day, “The kids and Wallis will collect all of the buckets and then hand roll all the coins, and then the school will cut WAHS a check.” Nikodym continued, “Wallis tallies everything up, and we will announce the winners. The kids have really gotten into it. It has been really cool.”

Nikodym added, “We have decided that this is going to be a yearly thing for us, and we’re kind of looking at how to get the rest of the community involved.”

- Linda McMahon


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