Student Council Prepares for Penny-a-Week and Christmas Prom

Photo Courtsey of Hattie Ebling
Gwen Hamilton, freshman, collects money for Penny-a-Week. Student Council has been using these donations to buy presents for children for years. ‘Every child deserves to wake up with a smile,” senior John Hanaway said.

Student Council is a club involved with major events going on around the school. Senior Gary Chen, President of Student Council, said “Student Council has two main projects: Penny-a-Week and Christmas Prom. For about 10 weeks, members ask their homerooms for donations, and with that money, we buy Christmas presents for children who are less fortunate. We also organize the Christmas Prom by planning the theme and setting up the dance hall.”

    Penny-a-Week is one of the biggest charity events that Student Council does. Every Tuesday, a representative of Student Council asks their homeroom for a donation. Senior John Hannaway, Treasurer of Student Council, goes above and beyond to raise money for Penny-a-Week. He buys candy with his own money and sells it throughout the day. All of the money he makes goes directly to the Penny-a-Week fund.

      “I like to sell candy because I think this is a great cause. When I was younger, my parents spoiled me on Christmas morning. Knowing that there are children out there who don’t receive anything is why I do this. Every child deserves to wake up with a smile,” Hannaway said.

   Carmen DiCello is a teacher who, like John, gives over and above the amount of money most people donate to the charitable cause. He donates hundreds of dollars out of his own pocket. He said “Quite a few years ago I used to give money to a fund. I won’t give the name, but I started learning through the grapevine that in some of these organizations, 40% of the money goes toward upkeep and for paying people. The actual person you want to help is getting very little money. With something local, like Penny-a-Week, you know there’s really no middleman, no one gets paid, that all the money collected goes to the kids, and they’re local kids; that was very appealing to me. As a result I just started jumping on board… We all know that some families are solid, good, cohesive and together, and in other families, the parents aren’t doing such a hot job. I felt like the kids shouldn’t be punished for the lack of effort of their parents. This is something where hopefully, as much as humanly possible, you’re going to benefit the kids, whatever his or her background or however good a family life that child has. It’s those two things. The kids deserve to have a blessing at Christmas no matter what the parents are like, good, bad or anywhere in between. It’s one hundred percent local and there’s no middlemen involved in pocketing a percentage of the money… It’s a great Pottsville Area tradition.”

    Christmas Prom will be the next big event organized by Student Council. Mr. William Rhoads, Student Council advisor, said “This year for the Christmas prom we once again contacted Kemforts Cottage, they’re going to do our decorations. It’s going to be at Hillcrest on Saturday, December 8. We have a design, or at least a color scheme, of purple and silver. Hopefully, we get a little winter forest theme going on. Other than that, it’s the same as every year. Approximately 400 kids usually go.”