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T.C. Martin goes to war — the Penny and Lemonade varieties. School raises nearly $4,000 for humane society

At T.C. Martin Elementary School, students have been buzzing about a “war” going on between brother, Evan, and sister, Jessie. The Treski siblings are engaged in a battle to see who can rake in more money from their joint lemonade stand, and Martin quickly became caught up in the drama. It all kicked off in mid-March when the school launched One Book, One Martin, a takeoff on the One Book, One School program. The program calls for each student to receive a copy of the same book to read at home with their families while exploring the novel with their classmates at school.

This year, Martin read “The Lemonade War,” the first book in a series of five penned by Jacqueline Davies. The book follows the story of Evan, the “people person,” and Jessie, who has a mind for numbers, as they run a lemonade stand. The siblings quickly turn their business into a competition.

The book taught students about financial responsibility and how to treat others with respect, including those who can drive you crazy like no one else. “It’s very important to respect your siblings,” Renay Smith, a fifth-grade student said. “Having a sibling — it's someone you can count on.”

Students took the book home to read with their parents, returning to school to enter answers to trivia questions for chances to win a prize. “I feel like the kids are on their computers so much,” Assistant Principal Tara Zeier said. “Let’s get back to reading books. So, we put books in their hands.”

Books were sent home in English and Spanish with staff recording chapters that could be listened to by students who didn’t have someone at home to read to them. Teachers in intermediate and primary grades paired up to have older students read to younger ones. The reading program wrapped up late last month with a schoolwide community service project.

The spirit of the book inspired the K-Kids Club when it was looking for a fundraising activity. The club regularly completes projects to help community organizations. The club sponsor, school librarian Melody Philpotts, said the members were interested in a Penny War between classes that would raise money for the Humane Society of Charles County.

With “The Lemonade War” being a hit, Zeier and Philpotts decided to take a page out of the book and wage war — so to speak. Lemonade pitchers were placed in classrooms to collect change with the goal to raise $250 for the humane society. The top two fundraising classes, a primary and an intermediate, would win a pizza party with lemonade and lemon cupcakes.

By the second day, Zeier and others found most of the pitchers were already half full. “We have great community support at T.C. Martin,” Zeier said. “Our community supports our school.” The fundraiser earned nearly $4,000 for the humane society — $3,953.48 to be exact. The K-Kids recently presented the check to Shari Olson, executive director of the humane society, and G.G. Stephens, humane educator coordinator, who visited the school with two guinea pigs, Fancy and Lucy.

“They raised quite a bit, that blew us away,” Olson said. “We are so appreciative.” Children and animals make a natural team. “For kids, having pets teaches them empathy and compassion,” Olson said. Taking care of pets also help children learn responsibility, Stephens added.

Kaitlyn Roberson’s fourth-grade class and Anna Lancaster’s second-grade class collected the most in the Penny War earning them the pizza parties.

About CCPS

Charles County Public Schools provides 27,598 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 37 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.

The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Kathy Kiessling, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial M. Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.

CCPS provides nondiscriminatory equal access to school facilities in accordance with its Use of Facilities rules to designated youth groups (including, but not limited to, the Boy Scouts).