Trinity, St. Mary’s ‘Penny War’ raises $4,800 for St. Jude’s

February 4, 2022 | 12:08 am

Updated February 3, 2022 | 11:05 pm

The Penny War has been a longstanding tradition at Trinity High School and St. Mary of the Woods Grade School. In recent years, the schools decided to piggyback on the Angels for Ashley efforts and donate the money raised from the fundraiser to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. 

Angels for Ashley is a local nonprofit that donates countless hours to raising funds for St. Jude’s and other organizations by selling cooked meats, hosting events, and more. Spearheaded by Jerry and Vickie Morris and their team of dedicated volunteers, the group raises significant funds for St. Jude through barbecue sales and a radiothon with WBKR.

The war between classes, which began on Jan. 24, was quite the battle, with the schools raising nearly $4,800. Trinity’s National Honor Society – sponsored by teacher Christina Rhodes – organized the event, seeing increased competitiveness among classes and record donations this year. 

“Trinity and St. Mary’s did a fantastic job this year – the credit goes entirely to the kids, who raised the money and counted it every afternoon,” Rhodes said. “The first few days, the grade school was pouring in the money, lighting a competitive spark within the high school students, who surprised us on Friday with significant donations.”

Rhodes said the high schoolers began sending pictures of the money they had collected through text messages and various forms of social media to each other, inciting even more competitiveness.

Since he was 7 years old, Trinity junior Gavin Howard has been raising money for St. Jude’s; he played a pivotal role in triggering a late rally with his fellow schoolmates. 

“I obviously wanted to help the junior class win, which we did,” Howard said. “I was constantly hyping it up and talking to other classes, aggravating all of them to generate more money.”

Howard is a junior and active in the school’s National Honor Society and a varsity basketball team member. He traces his fundraising efforts back to his 7th birthday when he donated all of his birthday money to Angels for Ashley during their annual barbecue sale at Shoe Stop. 

WBKR broadcasted that donation, motivating several listeners to follow suit. Howard saw the chain reaction created from that initial donation and has grown his efforts ever since. 

“My first year, I donated my birthday money, the following year I began asking friends and family for donations, and then I made an appearance on the radiothon broadcast,” Howard said. “We’ve since added T-shirt sales, a Jamming for St. Jude’s concert, meat sales, drop boxes, raffles, and more.”

To date, Howard has been a catalyst in raising more than $38,000 for St. Judes. 

Organizers scored the contest on a point system which gave additional credit for rolled coins. Classes and students could win prizes such as non-uniform days for victories. The juniors barely outpaced the sophomores for a victory, while 1st-graders at St. Mary’s edged out the 2nd-graders by a small margin.

February 4, 2022 | 12:08 am

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