Eastern Elementary School in Hagerstown collected pennies during October to buy phone cards for troops in Iraq.
The project was inspired by three students at Eastern, Rebeka, Rachel and Rose Pierce, whose father, Army Sgt. James A. Pierce Jr., is stationed in Iraq.
Eastern students responded to the need with more than $1,200 in pennies.
The mother of the girls, Anne Pierce, provided a party for the winning class and cupcakes for all who collected more than $50. Mrs. Moskowitz's fifth-grade class won the challenge by collecting more than $138.
Sgt. Pierce, in an e-mail from Iraq, thanked the students for the phone cards they sent.
"I cannot imagine the thought of twelve thousand pennies being collected for soldiers," he said in the e-mail.
He said he planned to give 40 of the phone cards to one of the units that was to be in Iraq over Christmas. That unit was the 1/504 PIR from the 82nd Airborne Division.