Proving they are “kids with character,” students at Grant-White Elementary School collected pennies, nickels, quarters and dimes in February raising $789.67 to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

The fundraiser is part of the society’s annual Pennies for Patients program and, considering the size of the school, $789 is an incredible feat for these students.

“The kindergarten class is 22 students and most classes have been capped at 20,” said Sue O’Giblin, PTO vice-president. “The second grade only has 11 students.”

PTO President Towanda Gadoree agreed, adding that the fundraiser was an excellent opportunity for the students.

“It was a great way to teach the students at Grant-White what it means to be a kid with character,” she said, adding that this was the school’s motto.

Grant-White is one of 450 schools throughout Illinois collecting change for the society.

“In Illinois the program raised over $300,000 this year and last year we raised over $13 million nationally,” said Brian Goodman, a representative of the society.

The society’s mission is to find a cure for blood cancers, which include leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma and Hodgkins disease, and improve the quality of life for patients.

“The money goes towards research, as well as patient aid,” Goodman said.

In exchange for their support, the children earned themselves a pizza party for the highest fundraising class in the school, the kindergartners, who raised almost $228.

The society will sponsor a party on March 23 at 12:30 for these industrious savers.

The money raised at Grant-White, Goodman told the children, is enough to fund one patient for one year in incidental care.