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Students collecting pennies for patients

Posted: March 14, 2008 4:50 p.m.
Updated: May 15, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Saugus High School Principal Bill Bolde eggs on students Thursday during a fundraiser for the school's key club, during which students had the chance to buy water balloons and take aim at school administrators. The fundraiser is part of the school's Pennies for Patients program.

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Students at Saugus High School had the opportunity to bombard their teachers and administrators with water balloons Thursday during one of many events scheduled to raise money for the school's annual Pennies for Patients campaign.

Most students took aim at Principal Bill Bolde, who had been egging them on all day, challenging even the school's best athletes to take their best shot.

"I was trying to get the kids into it, and it worked," Bolde said. He added that while he only played a small role in the campaign, the students have been working hard to raise money for three weeks.

By 12:30 p.m., the common area on campus was packed with students, who were either lining up for a chance to pelt their educators, or to simply watch.

"I didn't do anything but stand there and let people pummel me with balloons," Bolde said.

The lunchtime balloon toss brought in about $300 toward this year's goal of $8,000. Last year, the Key Club, which organizes the events with the help of the ASB, raised $6,000 for Pennies for Patients, a
school-based program that helps bring in cash for the research efforts of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Fundraising events include boxes for pennies in every classroom, food nights at local restaurants, weekly cake raffles and the final event, a relay race between teams of students dressed in horse costumes
called a Day at the Races, which takes place today.

Saugus counselor Ilene Blok started the first Pennies for Patients campaign at Saugus five years ago in honor of 2004 Saugus graduate Dean Abbott, who was diagnosed with ;eukemia during his junior year.
He died in June 2006.

This year's campaign was dedicated to Abbott and Brody Rennels, the parents of seven Saugus graduates, the last of whom is currently a senior. Rennels lost his battle with leukemia in September 2007.

This was the first year for the balloon toss, but it was such a success that Blok said they would continue to have the event as part of future campaigns. "Now that the kids have seen what it's like, I
know it will be our most popular event," Blok said.

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