Meadowlark Elementary School students celebrated the end of a campaign to raise money for the United Way Friday afternoon in retro style.

Meadowlark Elementary School students celebrated the end of a campaign to raise money for the United Way Friday afternoon in retro style.

The students and teachers participated in “Cha Cha for Change” in the schools’ cafeteria, and the winners of this week’s competition between classrooms to see who could collect the most money in the form of change were announced. The event included a sock hop, with music provided by area musician Shane Duling, and students and their teachers danced on the cafeteria floor in their booties.

The school holds fundraising contests each year, and the change competition was one of several activities, said principal Becky Bedene. Additionally, there was a contest for a meal at the Mall Deli, and teachers were allowed to wear jeans this week for $1 per day. Throughout the week, the teachers urged their students to bring change and deposit it into the Halloween pumpkin trick-or-treating pails in their classrooms.

“Everybody’s been excited about it,” Bedene. “We’ve talked about it everyday, and on the morning announcements.”

At the hop, staff brought the students down to the cafeteria two grades at a time. Duling played selections from artists such as Jack Johnson, Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Temptations as Bedene and her staff recorded the hauls from each class. The kids and teachers boogied in their socks as Duling played, and their smiles said they clearly were enjoying the show.
This year, Bedene said, staff added a twist to the competition by deciding to weigh the buckets to determine the winner rather than count the change.

“We thought it was a good way to change things up,” Bedene said.

The excitement among the 356 students was palpable. As the winners were announced they first clapped politely, but as the weights increased that clapping turned into shouts of “Whoa!” and “Yeah!”

Sarah Smith’s class won the contest between second and third grade classrooms with a 17-pound haul of change. Those classes collected a total of 72 pounds of change. In the primary hall competition, Michelle Broxterman won with 11.5 pounds of change. The total for those classes was 47.25 pounds. Nathan Niederklein’s class won the fourth and fifth grade contest with nine pounds, and the class total was 19.75 pounds.