Dowagiac elementary school raises $1,000 for Hidden Acres

Published 11:42 am Friday, January 5, 2024

DOWAGIAC — A local elementary school used its fundraising efforts to give back to the community.

Students at Patrick Hamilton Elementary School raised $1,000 through its Penny Wars fundraiser and donated the funds to Hidden Acres Safe Haven.
Hidden Acres has provided homes for unwanted and special needs livestock as well as the farm’s adoptable kittens. since opening in 2017. The shelter works closely with local 4-H organizations and hosts popular events including goat yoga, artisan markets and Trunk or Treat.

Patrick Hamilton’s student council organized the fundraiser, which took place over the course of two weeks. Teacher and student council co-sponsor Margaret Ortiz said the fundraiser was a way for the council to help the community

“Even a little penny will help your community for the better,” she said. “Student council is about learning leadership roles and giving back the knowledge you have.”

The fundraiser was a competition between K-2 classes as well as grades 3-5, with pennies and dollars counting for positive points and silver coins as negative points. The class with the most points in the end earned a pizza party. Ortiz was impressed with the students’ efforts.

“It was very exciting,” she said. “The school had already done a few fundraisers, so we weren’t sure how well we were going to do but it turned out great.”

According to Dawn East of Hidden Acres, the money raised will help pay for animal feed for the next three months.

“It was pretty cool to see,” East said. “The students not only had fun with classmates but they got to experience what it’s life to give. They also got to use a lot of math skills in counting.”

Patrick Hamilton’s student council was founded this school year and consists of third through fifth graders. In just a few short months, the council has helped members learn leadership skills and has created an avenue for students to connect with their schoolmates on a greater level.

“Student council is about coming together and being open and getting to know the student body better,” she said. “Sometimes, the upperclassmen only know some of the lowerclassmen because of their siblings. Council has taught them to be open and introduce themselves and be willing to help, share and work with other grade levels to become more of a community. When kids are walking down the hall, it’s more about ‘hi, how are you’ and not just on a mission to get from point A to point B.”