Penny Wars


Kristin Knope

To raise money and support students in our district, the Youth Frontiers organization held a penny war for the high school. All of the proceeds went to the Random Acts of Kindness, a fund that supports students with basic needs such as clothing, gas cards, or school supplies. 

Here is how it worked:

  • Pennies were positive (Ex: one penny = one positive point)
  • Silver coins and all cash were negative (Ex: one dollar = negative one hundred points)

Each grade, along with the staff, had a jar where others could earn positive points for their own grade or sabotage other grades. From March 28th to April 8th, jars were kept in the office, but during lunch periods Youth Frontiers brought them out in the commons. Members would help encourage donations by walking around to tables or answering questions. To motivate students and encourage friendly competition, there were two incentives. The winning grade would receive donuts from Linda’s Bakery and the whole school would have the opportunity to watch staff participate in fun activities if certain dollar amounts were reached. The meter had a variety of fun events such as duct tape to a wall, kiss a pig, pie in the face, human sundae, joust another staff member, dunk tank, and receive a new hairstyle. The group set out to raise $3,000 by the end of the two weeks, in hopes of seeing Mr. Malott and Mr. Jehn joust each other. 

 Youth Frontiers used the coin counter in the district office throughout the two weeks. After the first count, the school had raised $597.26 in total and the sophomore class took the lead with -4,828 points. Only four days later, the total almost tripled with $1,596.96 and the staff taking the lead with -22,927 points. On the final day, the total had come to $3,097.54 with the seniors coming in first at -65,811 points. 

On April 14th, the school gathered in the gym to see all the staff members perform their activity. From whip cream everywhere to slathering on hair dye, excitement was amidst the crowd. Students helped douse staff members in chocolate syrup, tape them to a wall, or smashed whipped cream in their face. The student body cheered as staff battled against one another, laughed when teachers were dunked in ice cold water, and came together to support their community. Senior Alye Dorshorst was among the crowd and enjoyed getting to watch all the events, “The vibe was awesome, I loved that the teachers were willing to do all sorts of crazy things and the students loved it.” 

The penny war was a success among the high school. Not only will the money be able to support the West Salem community,  it also allows for the student body to come together. Club advisor Ryan Nelson says, “In the end, I think it is important to remember that we raised over $3,000 for the Random Acts of Kindness fund, that will go a long ways to help students and families in need. At the end of the day, I think students and staff and West Salem will show that they are caring and compassionate and willing to help others.”

photo by Morgan Sevier