Story in local paper about Carson

West Elementary student incites Penny Wars
on behalf of Buchanan County Animal Shelter

Carson Frye with the buckets of pennies and other denominations collected in the Penny War in support of the Buchanan County Animal Shelter. (John Klotzbach Photo)
Wednesday, April 4, 2012 1:57 PM CDT

INDEPENDENCE - Age is irrelevant when it comes to passion for a good cause. Inspired by story time in his third grade classroom, Carson Frye, a student at West Elementary became the driving force behind Penny Wars, an all-school fund raiser for the Buchanan County Animal Shelter’s soon-to-be-built facility in Hazleton.

A couple weeks ago the Independence Bulletin Journal shared “Pennies for Pets,” an article about Ms. Lukes third-graders raising money for the shelter. The single classroom project collected over $100 in loose change for the cause. Inspiration at that time came from two heartwarming stories read by animal shelter advocate Joe Olsen of Independence and his canine friend, Mulligan, during story time.

Excited about the success of “Pennies for Pets,” third-grader Carson Frye came up with the idea of getting all of West Elementary involved through Penny Wars, a week-long contest to see which classroom could raise the most money for a new Buchanan County Animal Shelter.

After talking over the idea with Ms. Lukes, an all class assembly was called and Carson spoke to his peers about his idea of pitting classroom against classroom to see which class could raise the most money for the shelter. The winning classroom would get an ice cream party from Dairy Queen.

“It was kind of scary talking about Penny Wars to the whole school, but once I got to the part about the winning classroom getting an ice cream party, it was utter chaos,” he exclaimed. “Everyone was so excited about having an ice cream party, and I felt pretty good after that.”

“Carson came up with the whole idea,” said his very proud teacher. “He even made arrangements with the owner of Dairy Queen to sponsor the event.”

A letter drafted by Ms. Lukes and Carson was sent out to all parents following the school assembly. It read:

“Dear Parents: Penny Wars are coming to our school! Ms. Lukes’ students have been collecting money for the Buchanan County Animal Shelter. So far we have collected over $120. Now, we’d like to get the whole school involved in a challenge called “Penny Wars.” Here’s how it works; every class needs an empty ice cream pail. On Monday, March 19, each class will start collecting money to fill the pail. The goal is to be the class that collects the most money. We will collect money until Friday, March 23. Then, on the 23rd the classes will turn the ice cream pails into the office. Then we will count the money for the shelter and declare the winner of the Penny War! The winning class will get an ice cream party from Dairy Queen. Good luck and let the Penny War begin!”

In total, 17 classes at West Elementary were involved in Penny Wars. On March 23, Ms. Brown’s 4th grade class was declared the winner, raising $154.52 for the shelter.

“All classrooms did extremely well, raising an average of $75 per classroom,” Ms. Lukes shared.

West Elementary ended up collecting a total of $1,350. 38! EMA Director and animal shelter advocate Rick Wulfekuhle will be accepting the check on behalf of the Buchanan County Animal Shelter in the near future. Olsen and his dog Mulligan will also be there. The assembly will be on Wednesday, March 28, at West Elementary. The presentation will take place around 2: 30 p.m.

“We are very proud of Carson for coming up with the idea in the first place, and for organizing everything. He is an amazing third grader,” says his teacher. “And we are also very proud of the entire West Elementary student body for participating in this event.”

Carson’s volunteerism and can-do attitude come naturally as his parents are Scott (Buchanan County Fair Association President) and Shalon (Extreme Makeover and Building a Dream in the Country organizer) Frye.