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Tres Pinos School students raise money to fight cancer

Rural school's "penny war" nets support for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, promotes community spirit among students
Tres Pinos students get ready for an awards assembly Friday morning.

With the school's panther mascot standing nearby, Tres Pinos Union Elementary School Student Council members Kaytlin Kobayashi, Lori Lust and Olivia Madera on March 17 released a check for $1,255.59 to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the result of a school-wide "Penny War" to collect change that would eventually benefit the effort.

The presentation was made during the second trimester awards assembly at the 126-student rural school south of Hollister. Parents and members of the community attended, celebrating the fundraiser that was under the direction of fourth-/fifth-grade teacher Caitlin Conover and second-/third-grade teacher Laurie Marcus.

A humorous video produced by Lori Lust was played, and there were student performances, one that included six girls hanging upside down on the playground bars.

“It raises the spirits,” Conover said of the program. “The kids know they’re doing something positive by the raising money and fighting cancer. Cancer is an ugly beast.”

Marcus noted, “I’m proud of our student council and the officers. The ultimate goal of the project was to teach how to be leaders and make changes."

Prior to the releasing of the check, Superintendent/Principal Bronson Mendes-LoBue gave out other awards to children in the categories of math, reading, most improved, respect, science, honor roll, and those students who earned all A’s. 

Laureen Diephof (Freelance writer)

Laureen has been in the communication business for many years as a photojournalist, columnist, and blogger.She served as reporter and columnist for South Monterey County Newspapers. She reported for the Soledad Bee and the Gonzales Tribune, and is currently writing feature stories for the Salinas Californian. From 2012-13, She was on a one year journey beginning in the Arctic Circle to the Sahara Desert, and many countries and small islands in between. After that she joined AmeriCorps, and served as the volunteer coordinator for the Arts Council for Monterey County. When the 10 month service was completed, she took the earned stipend and used it in Cambodia, where she stayed on a Buddhist Pagoda with the Monks and Nuns. She has written a book about her one year journey and hopes to get it published soon. Her website is: She lives in Aromas with her cat Pharaoh.


Submitted by (Laurie Marcus ) on

Our students are great examples of what leadership in action truly means! I am very proud of their selfless efforts and acts of kindness! Proud Panthers indeed!

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