Benet’s Change for Good

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When fundraising, a penny might not seem like much. But during Benet Academy’s Christmas Drive, every coin counts.

Penny Wars is one of the most popular events of the school’s annual two-week fundraiser for local charities.

Each class collects spare change throughout the week, with the winning class earning a non-uniform day.

“It has evolved into a monster over the last few years,” said Steve Frey, a teacher and student government moderator. “It’s always been a tradition that seniors win this, so except for one year in the past, seniors have always won Penny Wars. This year we got the faculty involved as away to up the ante a little bit. And students responded in a big way.”

Pennies rack up points for your class, while other coins can be tossed in opponents’ buckets for negative points.

This year’s senior class didn’t disappoint, banking 55 $25 bricks of pennies as well as a $100 brick of nickels, a $250 brick of dimes, and a $500 brick of quarters for the faculty bucket.

That, along with the other fundraisers during the drive, adds up to a big chunk of change.

“We did sell Christmas Drive sweatshirts – those brought in over $10,000, so that’s big,” said Sean Morrison, student government vice president. “We’re also raffling off tickets to Bears games. We have ‘Hamilton’ tickets. We’re going to be raffling off ‘Dear Evan Hanson’ tickets soon, so all that combined really adds up.”

“Teachers get involved in their classrooms as well,” said Frey. “Some will sell coffee or hot chocolate. Some will sell pop. Ms. Alcorn, who is one of the English teachers here – she always sells bacon on Friday, which is an unbelievable fundraiser. She’ll make $300 to $400 in bacon on one day.”

In total, Penny Wars raised $9182.48 to go into the Christmas Drive fund. And while all of the events are designed to be fun, the students know it’s for a good cause.

“What we try to do is we try to have as much fun as we can and raise as much money as we can for all these children,” said Student Government President Mark Sortino.

Last year’s Christmas Drive raised $90,457.41 before an anonymous donation made it an even $100,000.

Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.