Penny Wise : For Students in Canyon Country, Collecting Coins Pays Off


The copper mountain represented nearly a year’s work to the students of Leona Cox Community School.

One million pennies, that’s right, $10,000 worth of the least valuable of coins, were piled on the school cafeteria floor Tuesday, waiting for parent volunteers and students to scoop them into bank bags with cups, cans and their bare hands.

Parents and students then loaded the booty into a waiting armored truck, use of which was donated by a Los Angeles bank.

“Surprisingly, we did not have problems,” said Kay Rich, whose fourth-grade class spearheaded the donation drive for the money, which will buy new computers for the school. “As far as the estimation of time it would take [to bag the money], things went amazingly well.”


The effort began in September after students placed empty coffee cans at willing businesses throughout the area. During the drive, Coast Federal Bank in downtown Los Angeles stored the lion’s share of the money.

When it was estimated that the goal had been reached, the money was emptied on the cafeteria floor for students to view during assemblies throughout the day.

The effort was also used as a math project to measure a million in various ways.

Throughout the year, students worked on such problems as: How much do a million pennies weigh? What is the weight of a thousand pennies? How many pennies can be stored in a coffee can?


The answers? You’ll have to ask them.