Students work to help the less fortunate

December 24, 1998

Students help less fortunateBy RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Fourth-graders at Fairview Elementary School are taking the Christmas spirit seriously this year by doing something for people they don't even know, people who are less fortunate than they are.

Some learned a little about the world of business, to boot.

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Paul Vaughn's 26 fourth-graders made snowman ornaments by painting and decorating paint stirrers. Then they sold them and used the money to buy blankets for a new homeless shelter under construction in Waynesboro.

Down the hall, Jane Ramsburg's class of 24 fourth-graders voted unanimously to forego the class tradition of exchanging gifts and worked at home instead to raise cash to buy necessities for hurricane victims in Honduras.


The success of both classes' efforts surpassed the expectations of their teachers.

Vaughn said he hoped the students would sell about 50 snowmen at $1 each to make enough money to buy two blankets. The kids turned into master salespeople and ended up selling more than 200. Demand for the little black-and-white ornaments far outstripped the supply.

The class had to turn to an assembly line production system to meet the demand.

Some students wanted to take advantage of the demand and raise the price to $1.50, but the majority voted to keep it at $1 saying a price hike wouldn't be fair.

"I wanted to lower the prices so we could sell even more. We could have made more money," said Holden Holden, 9.

Austin Helman, 10, said he learned how business works. "Supply is how many you make and demand is how many you need to make," he said.

"I learned that if you have a really good product you can raise the price," said Kaytlyn Lynch, 9. "Some people were willing to pay more."

"If you raise prices too high people won't buy," said Luke McGahen.

Several students said they knew homeless people in Waynesboro.

"I used to know a homeless guy who lived in the Dumpster behind the Record Herald (newspaper) He ate what people threw out," McGahen said.

Lynch said she once knew a man who had been rich, but he became poor when his wife left him. "He spent his money on drinking. People like my aunt used to give him food."

Ramsburg said she spent the $113 her students raised to fill two 5-gallon plastic buckets with towels, toothbrushes, soap, combs, over-the-counter medicines and other necessities for the people of Honduras.

The students raised the money by doing odd jobs around their homes and for their neighbors, she said.

"I thought it was fine for 24 fourth-graders, but they want to keep it going and fill another bucket," she said.

Matt Anderson, 10, made $5 by washing dishes, helping to decorate his home for Christmas and cleaning his room. He said the experience taught him that everybody has to work together to help make the world a better place in which to live.

Hannah Warren, 9, was able to make $8 by keeping her homework neat, and Michelle Snow brought in the $2 she made by doing dishes and "cleaning up my so-called room."

Brandon Miner, 10, helped his neighbor take out the trash, but that only earned him 79 cents. He brought it to school.

"I know I won't get any presents in class this year, but I feel OK about it," he said. "I have enough junk already."

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