On March 5, the second-graders at Appleton Village School took a field trip to Camden National Bank in Union as part of the theme they are studying in reading class, “Around Town: Neighborhood and Community.”

Students got an opportunity to see the way the bank serves the community as well as learn about personal finance.

The highlight of the tour, however, was when the students were invited into the bank’s vault to see the pennies that they had collected in the Pennies for Haiti service learning project. Pennies for Haiti was a fundraising project that was organized by the second-graders and their eighth-grade big buddies. The second-graders picked up a check for $386 from Camden National Bank in exchange for the thousands of pennies that the school had collected during the Pennies for Haiti fundraising campaign.

From Feb. 1 to Feb. 5, the second- and eighth-grade students challenged each grade in the school to bring in pennies for the victims of the earthquake that struck Haiti on Jan. 12. The second-graders made posters promoting the fundraising competition, while the eighth-graders gave daily updates through morning and afternoon announcements. The second-graders tallied each grade’s donation each day. Students in both grades worked together to count and roll pennies throughout the week. The second-graders raised the most money during the five-day event and were awarded a class pizza party for their efforts.

In addition to the pennies that students donated, the second-graders were overwhelmed by other generous contributions to the project, including a check that matched their fundraising for the week. In the end, Pennies for Haiti generated $964.64 to be donated to Save the Children.