School with high poverty rate raises more than $7K for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society fundraiser

William Penn Elementary students collect pennies

INDIANAPOLIS - The mission: Collect pennies for cancer patients.  It sounds easy, right?

Well, it is easy at one Indianapolis Public School.  In fact, William Penn Elementary School #49 continues to prove generosity isn’t limited to the wealthy.

Every student at William Penn Elementary receives free lunch and free breakfast.  According to the principal, the school has a 92 percent poverty rate.

Those stats are staggering. However, they are not limiting.

Last year, the students raised more money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s ‘Pennies for Patients’ campaign than any other school where every student receives free meals. The school ended up in tenth place in Indiana, for all schools that take part in the fundraiser.

One year later, the school is on track to make the same waves.

On Friday, the students at William Penn Elementary handed over a check for $7,309.49 to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society at an assembly at their school.

They spent several weeks collecting pennies, dimes, nickels and quarters for the donation. 

“It's used for medicine for the kids that feel bad with cancer,” explained Gabriel Salinas, a third-grader at William Penn Elementary.

Third grade teacher Kimberly Flake said she was very proud of her students.

“We have a caring staff and caring parents. Raising $7,000 at a high-poverty school proves they are caring people," she said.

Flake organized fundraising effort at the school.  On Friday, Flake rewarded the children with an entertainment assembly: one teacher has agreed to impersonate Elvis and another will shave his head.

The money raised goes toward blood cancer research. In all, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society hopes to raise $650,000 in 621 schools across Indiana.

To learn more about LLS, visit

Print this article Back to Top