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Update: Million penny project

By Thanksgiving, Perham Heart of the Lakes students hope to have 100,000 pennies. By May, a million.

At this rate, a couple dozen grade schoolers might accomplish what district residents couldn't at the November 4 levy referendum vote: raise additional money for the school's operating budget.

The "Million Penny Project" is nearly one-tenth of the way to the objective.

Fifth graders in Kelly Collette's class launched the collection in October. The students are well on track toward the one million goal by the May 1 deadline. Over 75,000 pennies were collected as of Nov. 17.

An educational project, which helps students grasp the concept of "big numbers," the Million Penny Project is also a charitable venture. The money collected will be donated to the school and local charities.

The 5th graders are brainstorming solutions for problems such as where they will store the pennies in the classroom, how they will move them, and how to keep them safe. They will soon have a chart or graph displayed in the school showing their progress.

The project is also taking on cross-curricular aspects, according to Prairie Wind Middle School Principal Scott Bjerke. When Mrs. Klinnert and Mrs. Moser teach business letters in language arts class, the students will have the option of writing to businesses to ask for their help. As pennies arrive from other towns and states, the students will keep track on a map where those pennies came from.

Teacher Collette is still accepting ideas on where/how to get more pennies.