Robert L. Bland Middle School students and staff donate to animal shelter


WESTON, W.Va. – The Lewis Upshur Animal Control received a donation from students and staff at the Robert L Bland Middle School, Wednesday. 

The school competed in a “Penny Wars” competition to raise money.  They ended up with a total of $7,661. 

The students who came up with the idea for the competition are a part of the school’s Inspire Program. Five students from different grades gave out a climate survey to address the biggest problems in the school. They found student-to-student relationships and school pride were areas they wanted to improve in.  

“It’s a lot of extra work, but it really pays off seeing all the students mingle with students they wouldn’t even talk to or just all the teachers and all the students getting excited about it” Sara Burns, Robert L. Bland 8th grader and Inspire Program leader said. “Out in other places, we heard kids talking about who they sabotaged, so they were really talking about it a lot.” 

Left to right Hadley Melton, Sara Melton, Reghan Carson, Brenlea Wilson. Not pictured Maggie Jordan.

“My favorite part of being on the program is being able to help our community and seeing everyone so excited about the fundraisers we’ve had,” Brenlea Wilson, a Robert L. Bland 8th grader and Inspire Program leader said. “It was so important, because we all felt so disconnected from being away from each other, then being together, then being quarantined. We all thought it was really nice to be able to actually work together and be together as well.” 

Robert L. Bland Middle School Principal Julie Radcliff said this competition was all the students’ idea and she’s proud to see them working together in a time like this.  

Overall winners for the Pennies for Pets competition

“When you’re looking at 6th, 7th, 8th grade students that are ready to lead like that now, in the middle of a pandemic, what are they going to do when they’re adults? It’s beautiful,” Radcliff said. “This went beyond my wildest dreams of what we would do. But, the way that the kids cared about what was being done and what it was for and how important it was, that meant the world, it tells you they’re listening. These are life lessons and life skills and beautiful come together events that probably maybe would have never happened to the magnitude that they’ve happened because of what occurred.” 

Each grade had an overall winner, most collected money winner, most pennies winner and a most sabotaged winner.  

The 8th graders said they had so much fun with penny wars that next year they plan to bring it to the high school. 

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