Highlands students raise money for The Literacy Council through Penny Wars

Piggy banks were emptied, couch cushions checked, and car consoles scoured for loose change, all to raise the most amount of money for The Literacy Council during this year’s Penny Wars at Highlands School. TLC Executive Director Bonnie Potts said they are extremely honored to be chosen as this year’s recipient.

“We want to be good stewards of the money being donated to The Literacy Council by the students,” said Potts. “Therefore, we have decided to allocate these funds to the Creative Corner in the new building.”

The new building is located next to Brysons Food Store in Highlands Plaza and is undergoing renovations before TLC moves into their new home. Potts added the Creativity Corner will consist of a Lego wall, a creative drawing space, and a “brag” wall, where students can exhibit their good grades, art projects, or short stories.

Students at Highlands School have been bringing in money for weeks and checking their class totals (mostly eyeballing it) in jars in the School’s lobby each morning. The rules are simple, each penny in your class’ jar counts as a point, any silver coins or dollars placed in a jar take points away. 

Junior Sayla Roman said Penny Wars is always fun and it’s for a good cause.

“It’s fun competition and it raises money for The Literacy Council, so it’s actually important,” said Roman.

Fellow junior Camren Dalton agreed it was important to support TLC, but she also had ulterior motives, as do many other students at School.

“We can’t let the seniors win,” said Dalton. “We just need to prove we’re better and it’s great that it goes to The Literacy Council.”

Penny Wars organizer is Highlands High School Math Teacher Gina Billingsley, who said TLC was chosen as the recipient for all they do for students and the community through after-school programs, GED classes, and an adult-literacy program. She added the competition gets pretty fierce, especially in the elementary grades.

“The younger kids really enjoy it, but all the classed want to take down the seniors,” said Billingsley. “And all kids should become more involved in their community and this is a way to give back.”

TLC Board Treasurer Cathy Manning was honored that TLC was chosen as the recipient and said the community (especially the children) are getting into the competition for a good cause.

“The mother of two Highlands School students knew her penny bank had been ‘raided,’ but she was excited to learn The Literacy Council is going to be the recipient of funds raised,” said Manning.

TLC Board Chair Jane Jerry said the gift will be recognized in a time capsule at the time of TLC’s grand opening.

“We’re so proud that kids want to help other kids through philanthropy,” said Jerry.

Pictured at the top of the article is Highlands junior Sayla Roman adding coins to class jars and Camren Dalton gathering up her coins to strategically place them during Penny Wars to raise money for The Literacy Council.

Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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