For more than a year, Zane Boyd stashed his allowance in a blue plastic piggy bank, dreaming about which video game he'd eventually buy with his savings.
But after an assembly at Apison Elementary School last week, when a principal told him and his classmates about the earthquake victims in Haiti, he had a new plan.
"I really wanted to give it to them so they would have a lot of food and water ... because I knew they really needed it, so I just felt like I had to. And I really wanted to," the 6-year-old said.
Including Zane's $37 donation -- his entire savings -- the students and their parents at Apison raised $2,269 during a weeklong project they called Helping Hands for Haiti.
Zane's first-grade teacher, Julie Thomas, said she was proud of every one of her 18 students, who all donated money to the cause. Zane's generosity motivated his classmates, she said.
"I'm just so proud of him that he motivated other kids in the classroom to donate," she said. "He collected all the money he could find."
Assistant Principal LaFrederick Thirkill, who first talked to the students about the earthquake, said the response was immediate.
"I just told them about it, and you would not believe the number of kids who came up to me asking if we could do a fundraiser," he said.
Students quickly exceeded the initial $500 goal, so Mr. Thirkill raised the stakes to $2,000. The school plans to give the money to the local chapter of the American Red Cross.
Other schools across Hamilton County and the region also have gotten in on efforts to help Haiti, including a bottled water drive at Brown Academy.
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Kelli Gauthier covers K-12 education in Hamilton County for the Times Free Press. She started at the paper as an intern in 2006, crisscrossing the region writing feature stories from Pikeville, Tenn., to Lafayette, Ga. She also covered crime and courts before taking over the education beat in 2007. A native of Frederick, Md., Kelli came south to attend Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in print journalism. Before newspapers, ...