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Penny Wars
Penny Wars
Stephanie Birdsill
Wednesday, December 11, 2019


The Northwood School District in Minong held their third Penny War to help raise funds for Minong’s Operation Rudolph program.  Operation Rudolph is a local project that tries to help area families who may not have the extra funds to purchase gifts for their children, ensuring they can still have a happy Christmas.  This endeavor is spearheaded by the Minong Fire Department and the Minong Fire and Ambulance Auxiliary. The Penny War was hosted by Northwood’s Student Council and National Honor Society and it involved the entire student body from preschool to 12th grade.

Some people may be wondering what a penny war entails.  The way that Northwood does their Penny War is dividing their school into three groups, elementary (K-5th), middle school (6th - 8th including NorthStar Community Charter), and high school (9th - 12th).  Each grade level then competed with each other within their own group to see which class had the highest positive total at the end of the ten day challenge. Pennies gave a class a positive total and silver coins and green bills gave the group a negative total.  If one grade targeted another grade, they would put silver coins or dollar bills into a class’s container to “sabotage” that group into being at a lower total. There were days when some classes’ daily total was a negative amount because of another competitive class.  The students checked their class’s daily total to see where their group was in the race to win. The students also had a couple of days that helped with their strategic plan for winning. One day all pennies brought in for a class that day were matched by a Northwood teacher.  Another day was called “Twisted Thursday” when the pennies were negative and the silver and green monies were positive for that day. This helped to bring some groups into the lead who were previously in the negative numbers. And the last day was called “Every Little Bit Counts” and all of the money put into the classes’ container for the day was counted as positive.  The students really had fun with the Penny Wars and brought in a total of $1,092.11 for the Operation Rudolph program. The winning groups were the Second Grade, NorthStar Community Charter, and Sophomores. The winning classes received some free-time on computers or phones, which was a non-monetary prize to reward the students for their fundraising efforts. This year, the National Honor Society held a Hats for Helping day where students could bring in a $1.00 to wear a hat during the school day and the money brought in was added to the Penny War donation.  In total, Northwood donated $1,231.84 to the Operation Rudolph fund.

Susan Conaway represented Operation Rudolph and accepted the check from Northwood seniors Haakon Gulbrandsen, Margaret Howard and Sabrina Gruzlewski, who are members of both the Student Council and National Honor Society. Conaway told the student representatives that she appreciated their donation because the organization will use the donation to buy the items that are still needed to make this year successful.