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Indian coin war raises $2,928.48
In honor of leukemia victim Joey Schnietman
Ruth-Waters-DSC 1416-LT
Ripon High Associated Student Body President Ruth Waters celebrates the record raised during the coin war. - photo by GLENN KAHL

There was no promise of extra credit or a pizza party.

The students in Robert Mayfield’s U.S. History and Government classes were given no incentive to raise the money.

They just did.

By the fistfuls, too.

Ripon High’s Coin War came to a celebratory finish on Friday afternoon in the North Gym. The student body and faculty gathered for a rally, touting the success of the annual fundraiser while acknowledging the kinship and a connection that pulsates through this small town.

Ripon High will donate nearly $3,000 to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in honor of the late Joey Schnietman, the younger brother of Ripon High senior Tyler Swortfiguer.

Schnietman lost his battle with blood cancer in late January. He was only 3.

Swortfiguer was presented with a ceremonial oversized check drawn by fellow student Anissa Sanchez on Friday. The final number was “mind-blowing,” said Ripon High Activities Director Jill Mortensen.

Ripon High raised $2,928.48, shattering its goal of $1,500 and dusting the $200 it raised in 2012.

“It shows how much of a positive community we have here,” Mortensen said. “How when one of our (students) is affected, we’re willing to do anything. I don’t think you see that in every town.

“I think it shows that we care about one another.”

Ripon High is one of more than 650 high schools participating in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Pennies for Patients program. Last year, LLS raised more than $550,000 for that specific program.

“You don’t have to give a whole lot,” Pennies for Patients representative Chantelle Rommel said. “Every if everyone brought just a couple of pennies, it adds up quickly.”

Mayfield can attest.

His students were among the most impressive subplots to this six-week fundraiser. His six classes raised $1,015.97. Only about $70 came out of Mayfield’s pocket, with the rest generated in the first few minutes of each period.

“It’s pretty amazing when you stop and think about how $1 from each student can amount to so much,” Mayfield said. “Every time it would get closer to the next $100, the kids would want to give more.

“I never offered them anything and they never asked for anything, which makes it even better.”

There were many catalysts in Mayfield’s classroom.

Eddie Menchaca and Roberto Alvarez engaged in a $1-a-day competition amongst themselves, while Sam Beeler, Carley Packer and Hunter Crum made sizable donations.

Mayfield’s third and fourth period classes raised more than $300 apiece.

“Really some amazing stuff,” Mayfield said.

Paul Calkins matched his students’ total, contributing approximately $400 to the drive.

“He encouraged his students. Whatever was made in that period, he would match it,” Mortensen said. “Kids were like, ‘Oh, here’s $10. Here’s $20.’ ”

The spirit of competition helped keep the drive going.

Students lugged empty water jugs around campus, participated in lunchtime activities and even staged a pie-in-the-face toss. For $1, students could smash a whip cream pie in the face of an instructor.

“It was mind-blowing, fantastic and crazy,” Mortensen said.

“When it affects one of our own, we come together better,” she added. “We take care of our own.”