Students raise enough pennies to adopt family

Adopting family for Christmas
Posted at 12:27 PM, Dec 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-20 08:04:28-05

PAPILLION-LA VISTA, Neb. (KMTV) - There are some lessons that students can’t learn from a textbook.

At Papillion La Vista Community Schools, some students are getting a hands-on lesson in kindness.

It’s not an ordinary assignment. The prompt requires giving and thoughtfulness.

For students in the Health Systems Academy, they spent a recent morning wrapping presents.

“If I can help them have one good morning or one good day, that’s what I want to do,” said Claire Guzman, a junior at Papillion-La Vista High School.

Call it Operation Christmas.

“It's nice to know that they're still going to experience a holiday that they look forward to that even their friends and family will get to celebrate and they get to participate and that their Christmas wish list comes true,” said Ayme Sumpter, a senior at Papillion-La Vista South High School.

To make this a reality for a family, the students gave back to a family within the district.

The academy raised more than $400 through its annual “Penny Wars.”

Students assigned to different groups compete against each other by tossing pennies into buckets. Each cent is a positive towards increasing the tally, whereas silver coins and dollar bills subtract from the total.

The competition eventually leads them to shopping for their adopted family to buy items like clothes and toys.

As students wrap each gift, their teacher Matt Allen believes the yearly tradition enhances the curriculum beyond studying physical health. It also includes mental and emotional health.

“I would say that empathy is a big thing we try to push unto our students,” he said. “Just being able to put yourself in other people's positions.”