An annual competition at Jamestown High School has netted more than $3,000 for a local organization.
Each year during the holiday season, the student body at JHS participates by class in Penny Wars, a healthy competition that constitutes one of the two major fundraisers throughout the school year - the other being the Battle of the Classes. According to Anthony Dolce, student government adviser, the competition has been a staple at JHS since the late 1990s and raises money for someone who has a direct connection with the school.
"(Penny Wars) is a way, at the holiday season, to raise a little money," said Dolce. "Usually we pick a cause that impacts someone who is in the school or a family at JHS."
Proceeds from Jamestown High School’s Penny Wars competition are donated to the Centaur Stride program in honor of Ray Tomassini, who passed away in September. Pictured from left: Matthew Tomassini, Ray’s son; Dr. Megan Tomassini, Ray’s daughter; Macie Delahoy, representing the JHS student organization; Claire Tomassini, Ray’s wife.
P-J photos by Gavin Paterniti
This year, JHS chose to donate its Penny Wars proceeds to Centaur Stride, a therapeutic horse riding and care program for people with and without disabilities. The donation was made in memory of Raymond Tomassini, who passed away on Sept. 21 of this year.
Tomassini's son Matthew, who graduated from JHS in 2010, is a rider at Centaur Stride and has been receiving weekly therapy from the program. As a result, Tomassini was very actively involved in volunteering with the program. Tomassini's wife, Claire, also works with Centaur Stride as an office manager and treasurer.
The JHS student organization raised a total of $3,615.44 for Centaur Stride. The check was presented by Macie Delahoy, representing the student organization, as well as Claire, Matthew and Dr. Megan Tomassini, Ray's daughter.
"We're very honored and very humbled," said Claire Tomassini, who also graduated from JHS in 1979. "It's quite an honor. I'm actually speechless at the amount of money that was raised. This is a facility that's very dear to our hearts, and we're all really involved, the whole family, to make sure that (Centaur Stride) stays up and running."
"It would have meant a lot to my dad," said Megan, who is working as a doctor of physical therapy at The Resource Center and was also a JHS class president in 2006.
Students participating in Penny Wars are encouraged to bring in pennies to put in their respective class box. Each penny counts as a positive point, while a silver coin or paper bill counts against the total in the box. This year the junior class won the competition, defeating the seniors by a margin of $17.
"It was a really close (competition) this year," said Macie Delahoy, a senior. "I think that (because of the cause which) we were collecting for this year, it brought a lot of people together. Because, unlike (the proceeds) being for one person, this affects a lot of people in our school, and I think that's what brought everybody together to collect more than normal."
The goal of Penny Wars is to raise at least $3,000. Because that goal was surpassed this year, the students had the opportunity to enjoy watching their principal, Mike McElrath, get "slimed." In addition, advisers of the losing classes each received a pie in the face.