Pennies for Peace, an outgrowth of the Watonwan County Peace Committee, recently concluded another drive, and both the Butterfield-Odin Public School first grade and grades two-four at St. Paul's in St. James were recognized for their efforts. After the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, the committee began collecting pennies for peace, and peace poles have been planted in all the area communities, said DeeAnn Gieseke, the committee's coordinator. Since then, they've moved on to public art displays. Gieseke paid a visit to the school in Butterfield November 25 to reward the first-graders with pencils, and to talk with them about the virtues of peace. She was joined by the school's counselor, Tammi Samuelson, who said she works with all students on the benefits of harmony. “We do a lot of ennobling curriculum and teaching about the concepts of character, kindness, and gratitude,” Samuelson explained. “We want peace in our whole world.” “They really embraced this (competition),” said LuAnn Augustin, the first grade teacher. “They wanted to win, and (Samuelson) did a lot with them to promote this.” The first grade collected $35.61 during the drive, and--combined with the take from grades two-six--the school brought in over $100. At St. Paul's, the victorious section of grades two-four collected over $32, which was over half of the entire school's take of just over $62. There are 14 students in the second-fourth grade section. Kathy Hoffman is in her fifth year teaching the section, which has now won the campaign in consecutive years after being shut out prior to last year. The section had less than $1 in their jar the day before the competition was set to conclude, but they rallied impressively to end up with over $32. For the full story, please see Thursday's print edition of the St. James Plaindealer.