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Fundraiser a win-win for ARF, students at SMS

Handing a fundraising project over to teens may sound like a risky proposal, but faith in Superior Middle School students paid off both for members of the Superior-Douglas Leadership Program and Animal Rescue Federation.

Handing a fundraising project over to teens may sound like a risky proposal, but faith in Superior Middle School students paid off both for members of the Superior-Douglas Leadership Program and Animal Rescue Federation.

In eight days, SMS students raised more than $1,400 for ARF. Members of the school's After School Program led the "Pennies for Paws" campaign.

"They did a lot of work," said Donna Protokowicz, a member of the leadership team that partnered with the youth. Every day, the students picked up penny jars from 60 homerooms and counted the money inside. Eighth graders Makayla Michaels and Grant Hoyt wrote daily announcements to let classmates know which rooms were pulling in the most cash.

"We kind of had it as a competition so every winning homeroom would get a pizza party," said eighth grader Sean Rhea, with one winning room from each grade.

Their goal was to raise $1,002 -- $1 for each student in the school. They far exceeded that.

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Although he was surprised at the final total, math and After School Program teacher James Hoppe said he wasn't surprised the students did well.

"I know the school as a whole would do a good job at it," he said.

Protokowicz said she was impressed with how the youth took the lead after the adult group offered it to them.

"They stuck with it," she said.

It was the students who decided the money would go to the shelter.

"We chose ARF because it could have closed down recently," Sean said.

"And a lot of people love animals so it's something we can easily raise money for," Makayla said.

The adult leadership group contributed $55 to the fundraiser, and stopped by every day to help count change. They also began volunteering as reading mentors at Northern Lights School, something Protokowicz plans to continue.

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"The reason I got involved is to make our community a better place to live," said Protokowicz, a financial specialist in the continuing education department at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

The project was a big win for students, adults and ARF.

"This did help them," Makayla said.

And the taste of victory, said seventh grader Rawia Maamoun, was very cheesy. As a member of Adam Kuhlman's homeroom, which won the seventh-grade competition by raising $63.43, she enjoyed a breakfast pizza party recently.

"It was better than they have at the cafeteria at lunch," she said. "It was homemade, I think."

Wendy Bender's sixth graders, who raised $119.22, and Carrie Evavold's eighth graders, who raised $94.51, also enjoyed the morning treat.

Some students are already contemplating future fundraisers.

"With fun ideas like this we could raise more money for charities," Sean said.

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"Because everybody wants to win," Rawia said.

"And who doesn't love pizza?" Makayla asked.

Members of the Superior-Douglas County Leadership groups will be giving project presentations 4-6 p.m. Tuesday at the Moose Lodge, 66 E. Fifth St. Refreshments served at the free event.

Nominations are currently being accepted for the 2009-10 leadership program. For more information, contact Geoff Wendorf at gwendorf@uwsuper.edu , or Jo McDonough at jmcdonou@uwsuper.edu or 394-8030.

Related Topics: SUPERIOR
Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
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