Bellefonte

Benner Bears give back

Benner Elementary

Students at Benner Elementary School participated in the Centre County United Way's Day of Caring campaign. During a weeklong coin drive, students raised money for the DC8 Fund in memory of a former student who died from cancer. Principal Kris Van
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Students at Benner Elementary School participated in the Centre County United Way's Day of Caring campaign. During a weeklong coin drive, students raised money for the DC8 Fund in memory of a former student who died from cancer. Principal Kris Van

When students at Benner Elementary School participate in Centre County United Way’s Day of Caring, it isn’t just for one day — it usually spans the week.

And efforts go toward a campaign that hits close to home.

Iniative benefited the DC8 Fund

This week, the student body was asked to donate change that would be contributed to the DC8 Fund — an initiative created in memory of former Bellefonte Area School District student Dylan Crunick who died at age 15 in 2014 from cancer.

The fund provides a scholarship each year to one Bellefonte Area High School student.

Day of Caring is a campaign through the local United Way branch that urges community members to give back to other local groups that benefit the public.

It was held all day Thursday.

$1,652 raised through schoolwide coin drive

Students at Benner Elementary raised $1,652 just from a coin drive — almost more than double the $888 goal — a number that coincided with Crunick’s favorite No. 8, which he wore on his baseball jersey.

“It goes along with our goal of also being good stewards of the community, and helps students understand that there are things bigger in this world than them,” Principal Kris Vancas said.

Last year the school raised $1,685, and the year before raised about $950.

Fifth-grade teacher Laura Covone said she helped spearhead the event at Benner Elementary, because of a personal experience.

Covone was Crunick’s fourth-grade teacher when he attended Benner Elementary.

On Friday afternoon, a schoolwide assembly was held to announce the total raised. It also included games among students and staff.

It’s a really positive thing we got here, and it remembers a former Bear.

Kris Vancas, principal

“It’s a really positive thing we got here, and it remembers a former Bear,” Vancas said.

The bear is the Benner Elementary School mascot.

Britney Milazzo: 814-231-4648, @M11azzo

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