Kiernan, Lisa Olson librarian, Ruth Ingebrigtsen, parent and chair of the Book Fair

The students of Chapman Hill Elementary School in West Salem have connected with a school devastated by the Tubbs fire that swept through Santa Rosa, California.   Hidden Valley Elementary lost their entire school to the fire.  Total loss.  Now classes are meeting in temporary classrooms.

Over 25 percent of both the student body and the staff also lost their personal homes.  The story of such loss being suffered by others moved a parent volunteer, Ruth Ingebrigtsen, parent of a fifth grader and chairperson for the school’s book fair to take immediate action.  She approached the Chapman Hill librarian, Lisa Olson, and asked if they could raise money during the book fair to send to Hidden Valley.  Mrs. Olson and the students at Chapman Hill shared her enthusiasm.  The two women became the adult co-chairs of the project, working daily with students from every classroom.   The outcome was a total school effort to raise money to help Hidden Valley replace books for their library.

A one-week drive for money raised $657.46.  It was suggested that students bring their pennies on Monday, nickels on Tuesday, dimes on Wednesday, quarters on Thursday, and any form of money on Friday.  Each day the smaller jars in the classrooms were collected and poured into one very large jar in the library.  It is reported that parents and grandparents also were seen putting money into the jar.  Each day the kids came by to see the level rising in the large jar, and Lisa Olson reports that by the end of the week she could not lift the jar!

One particularly determined and generous student was Kiernan, a second grader (pictured).  He gave very generously of his personal coins and inspired others to do the same.

MAPS Credit Union also helped the students.  All the coins were taken to MAPS where they were counted in a large machine.  Then MAPS donated the service of issuing a Money Order made out to Hidden Valley Elementary.  In the hall of Chapman Hill, now proudly featured on a prominent bulletin board, is a heart-warming thank you note from Hidden Valley.  This note is posted next to photos of the destroyed school in Santa Rosa and a photo of the large donation jar that helped connect the students of the two schools.

Students at Chapman Hill have already scheduled their second fundraising week to help Hidden Valley to coincide with the next Scholastic Book fair.  Here is a whole school of caring students, compassionate adults, and the Power of Pennies.