By Griffin Johnson
Jamesville-DeWitt High School Guidance Counselor Laura Bond’s Pennies for Patients fundraiser was a success, as student and faculty efforts helped to raise a total of $528.58 to be donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS).
The fundraiser provides each J-DHS homeroom with a jar, a chance to win a donut breakfast, and the opportunity to give to a great cause. The top three contributing homerooms this year included those of English teacher and J-D RamPage adviser Trinity Conner, Spanish teacher Maria De Jesus, and English teacher Matt Phillips. Each raised over $50, while Mrs. Conner’s RamPage homeroom raised the most of the three, bringing in a total of $79.41 and a hearty donut breakfast to their class.
Mrs. Conner understands the value of such fundraisers and charities. “I feel it is very important that we raise money for a cure for cancer, whatever cancer it is. Especially because last year my husband’s best friend died of cancer. And I’ve seen what terrible, terrible things it does,” says Mrs. Conner; “This is for children, and I especially want childhood cancer to be eliminated because nobody deserves that.” Due to this personal experience and passion for the fight against cancer, Mrs. Conner made sure her students pitched in to the cause. “I went to each student and shook the little canister at them in order to encourage them,” she says. “I definitely did as much persuading as I could.”
Sra. DeJesus’s freshmen homeroom was runner-up, but just as hungry for victory in the school-wide fundraising competition. This may have been in part due to the fact that Sra. DeJesus “bribed them with a second breakfast,” on top of the original top prize. The enticement of the now doubled prize and the idea of giving back proved to be successful.
But, for Mr. Phillips’s freshmen, the donuts aren’t what’s important. “The donuts really don’t matter to us. We’re not really about the prizes or the glory,” said Phillips. Instead, he and his students focused on the project because of its personal importance to them. “My mother-in-law has lymphoma and she’s constantly under treatment, so we talked a little bit about that,” said Mr. Phillips. “And there are students in the class who have relatives (who are affected), and we know about childhood leukemia and things like that. So it was a very important cause. I think that, more than anything, is why we participated,” he added.
Mrs. Bond brought this fundraiser to J-DHS four years ago after she witnessed the effects of leukemia in her own life. “I have a friend from high school that has a four-year-old daughter with leukemia and a friend from college who has an eight-year-old son who is a survivor of leukemia. And it’s personal, being a mom myself,” said Mrs. Bond.