The Penny Wars Are Back!

The Penny Wars Are Back!

Tommy Noonan, Writer

   Monday, May 8th, 5:16 AM 

     It was exactly 3 hours before the announcement. Mr. Foley stood in front of his mirror, carefully adjusting his striped tie, only his mind was far from his neat and tidy bedroom. His hands trembled slightly and waves of anxiety rushed through his stomach as he thought about what dreadful things could occur when he made the announcement. It is also worth mentioning that he felt an impending sense of guilt for the inevitable warfare that would materialize after the announcement broadcasted in Sarah W. Gibbons Middle School. What is this announcement, you might ask? He is preparing to announce the annual Penny Wars, and he feared this year´s could be far worse than the last. His heart rate increased as the time on his watch continued. Tick, tock, tick, tock. 


     It was now mere seconds before the announcement. Students waited anxiously for the low-toned voice of their principal to echo through the desolate halls. Some stared longingly at the speakers, and some stared at the empty glass jars, with their teacher´s name  plastered on each of them. The students, constricted to their chairs, clenched their coins, some malevolent ones clenching dollar bills, waiting for Mr. Foley to finally announce the wars. The minute hand on every clock reached 8:17, and it was now time. The announcements clicked on as Mr. Paulhus, the leader of the Blue team army, held a penny over his jar. Mr. Foley´s quivering voice came on the speakers, and with disregard to saying the pledge of allegiance, he cut right to the chase. 

     ¨My fellow students and staff, you all know what this is about. It is now time. As soon as these announcements come to a close, you may all begin war. The Penny Wars are back.¨ 

     The announcements clicked off and the school was filled with a deafening silence. Only, it was broken by Mr. Paulhus, who by dropping one penny from his hands, made a faint tap that marked the beginning of a gruesome war. It was heard by the entire school. Soon the leaders of the Green, Purple, Maroon, and, of course, the Blue team released the students from their chairs, and the great Penny Wars officially began. Weeks of bloodshed and battle were upon them to determine who the greatest team truly was. 

               Now, it must be said that this ¨story¨ is not exactly accurate and is an overreaction of the real events…more or less. But regardless, the Penny Wars certainly have returned, officially beginning on Monday, May 8th. Nevertheless, as a fellow Gibbons student or teacher, you may be wondering: What is the Penny Wars exactly? Well, you’re not alone on the question. A lot of teachers and students wonder why we’re declaring war against each other over Pennies. The truth behind all the fun, games, and possibly tears (cried by Mr. Paulhus when he loses), is that the profits made by the pennies collected will go directly to charity. Specifically, all of the profits raised in these competitive wars will go straight to the American Red Cross. That is, a non-profit organization which is the first to respond to emergencies and disasters in our own American communities and provide those affected with aid even after the emergency or disaster is over. That’s right! By trying to help your team win the competition, you could also be helping a family or person in need! Taking that into consideration, even if you feel like a cruel person for stuffing a 20 dollar bill into an opposing team´s jar, keep in mind that the money is going to a good cause. All the more reason to relentlessly sabotage other teams, right? Sadly, there are a few main rules which to some, may be strenuous to follow. First, no grabbing money from jars as a method of sabotage. Second, the absolute limit of money one can bring in for a single day is $20. The third and hardest rule is no physical interference to prevent someone from placing money in a jar. These rules certainly make sabotage harder, however, the score chart below shows that it might not be that hard after all.

Point System:

Coins are positive, bills are negative. Two winners will be declared: one for the jar with the most money collected and one that has the highest net value after adding up all of the coins and then subtracting the bills.

1 penny = 1 point

1 nickel = 5 points

1 dime = 10 points

1 quarter = 25 points 

$1 dollar coin = 100 points

$1  = (-100 points)        

$5  = (-500 points) 

$10  = (-1000)

$20  = (-2000)

  As you can see, bringing in coins for your own team is the only way to increase your own team´s score. On the other hand, bringing in a paper bill is absolutely devastating to an opposing team. For example, to incorporate some math, it would take 2,000 pennies to make up for a $20 bill. Nonetheless, students have already been taking advantage of this, devastating teachers such as… Mr. Paulhus!

Image: A ¨fellow¨ student dropping a $10 bill into Mr. Paulhus´s jar 

 In the end, there will be 2 winning teams, which will be the two teams with the highest scores when adding the coins and subtracting the bills. While if there is one, the prize is undetermined. We do know that the winning teams will have bragging rights over the other teams. In contrast, the losing teams will be walking the walk of shame every time they walk by a winning team. Nobody wants to become a losing team, so this goes to every single person reading this article. Time is running out, and the Penny Wars ends on May 12th, so go around your house and find ANY coin you can! And if you have a dollar bill, don’t be afraid to sabotage!! Now is your one chance to tell everyone on your team, every teacher and student, that the Penny Wars are back!