VMS students collecting pennies for a cause....

Seventh grade Pre AP literacy classes under teacher Linda Knapp at Vilonia Middle School have launched the One Cent-One Life penny drive.

At a media presentation, last week, students Katelynn Bell and Emma Duncan, representing the class, said “it’s not just a penny drive” but one to bring awareness to the Holocaust. Each penny will stand for a real life lost,” one student said. “We hope to change the hearts of quite a few.”

The plan is to collect six million pennies for the six million Jews who were murdered including one-and-a-half million children the period from January 30, 1933 - when Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany - to May 8, 1945, when the war in Europe officially ended.

If the students reach the goal, one-and-a-half million pennies will be remain at the school and serve as a memorial to the children who lost their lives. The rest will be donated to the Jewish Federation of Arkansas.

One student, Grace Shannon was credited with the initial penny collection idea—with her peers jumping on board and expanding.

 Three classes, comprised of about 85 students, are working on the project. They have broken down into smaller groups to focus on individual goals such as “getting the word out,”  taking care of collection buckets, making contact with the media, corporations and other “influential people.” They have already called heads of companies and countries, movie stars and political candidates.  But, they said, they are not through yet. They plan to make more contacts.

Some students will be designing flyers and logos as well as designing the memorial and coordinating the program that will take place at the unveiling.

The students will use technology to help them by setting up a Facebook page, Twitter account and a Go Fund Me account.

Currently, they have about 10,000 pennies. There’s no official deadline but they hope to conclude by the end of April.