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September 25, 2018

Charles E. Riley Leads Fundraising Effort For ‘Pennies For Peace’


OSWEGO, NY – “Pennies for Peace’ is a major educational initiative that Oswego students, staff and community took to heart.

Greg Mortenson recently visited Oswego and at the conclusion of his presentation at the SUNY Oswego Campus Center, Oswego Superintendent of Schools Bill Crist made a very special presentation.

Charles E. Riley Elementary School donated almost $1,800 to “Pennies for Peace.” Representing the school were students from each grade level as well as staff. They included (in front left to right) Nicholas Fowler, Connor Syrell, Don Sincere Allen, and Alyssa Nagel while in back are Principal Mary Beth Fierro, project coordinator and teacher Karen Burke, Jenna Bradshaw, Makayla Meaney, Sasha Cumming, Kalysha Rourke and Jessica McKinstry.

Charles E. Riley Elementary School donated almost $1,800 to “Pennies for Peace.” Representing the school were students from each grade level as well as staff. They included (in front left to right) Nicholas Fowler, Connor Syrell, Don Sincere Allen, and Alyssa Nagel while in back are Principal Mary Beth Fierro, project coordinator and teacher Karen Burke, Jenna Bradshaw, Makayla Meaney, Sasha Cumming, Kalysha Rourke and Jessica McKinstry.

Crist was joined on stage by several school age children as a check for over $8,000 was given to the “Pennies for Peace” project.

Mortenson created the “Pennies for Peace” undertaking to build schools for children in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Over the years millions of dollars have been raised through the donation of pennies.

Schools have blossomed throughout Pakistan and Afghanistan as both boys and girls are receiving an education.

Oswego Reads organized the massive effort to bring humanitarian-author Mortenson to the community for a very special event. At the outset Pathfinder Bank became the major sponsor for the visit and throughout the past few months Mortenson’s works have become better known throughout the Oswego area.

When Mortenson attempted to create “Pennies for Peace” he faced numerous obstacles. He explained that he had written numerous letters to nationally recognized athletic and acting professionals. Only one check was donated and that was from news anchor Tom Brokaw.

He happened to visit his mother’s elementary school and suddenly the concept of donating pennies was conceived. Students noted that pennies aren’t much, but they add up.

And add up they have with schools popping up throughout Pakistan and Afghanistan for the past ten years.

In Oswego the Charles E. Riley Elementary School students, staff and families gathered together for a very generous donation. The school adopted the effort and students, knowing the story and understanding the importance of education, contributed 177,352 pennies ($1,773.52) for the effort.

The donation was extremely noteworthy and appreciated.

Superintendent Crist said, “I would like to congratulate principal Mary Beth Fierro and the students and staff of the Charles E. Riley Elementary School for their amazing feat with the ‘Pennies for Peace’ campaign. I am proud of all of our students, staff as well as the entire community for the generous support that was shown for this educational endeavor.”

The schools donated $4,106.6. Also contributing were Minetto Elementary School with $569.65, Fitzhugh Park Elementary School $405.14, Kingsford Park Elementary School $392.13, Frederick Leighton Elementary School $383, Oswego Middle School $190.32 and Oswego High School $61.85. Trinity Catholic also donated $331.

Meanwhile, the river’s end book store donated $1,843.40 as the community in total contributed $4,163.80 for a total donation of $8,270.41 for the “Pennies for Peace” initiative.

Bonnie Perfetti, a member of the Oswego Reads Committee, said, “I would like to thank everyone who made this event happen. Thanks to all the teachers and staff who shared Greg Mortenson book with their students and made their students aware of Greg’s mission to raise money for schools.”

Continuing she said, “A special thanks to Riley school for embracing the community read. The projects their students took part in and their ‘Pennies for Peace ‘campaign was amazing.” Many of those works will be on display Nov. 7 at the river’s end book store.”

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