Last updated: July 24. 2013 1:19PM - 194 Views

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PDT Staff Writer

MINFORD — Fourth-grade students at Minford Middle School were rewarded last week with a half-day of outdoor water fun. The class earned this day by collecting 173 pounds of coins — more than any other class — for the Tara Greene Estep Memorial Scholarship.

The scholarship is named in honor of a former elementary teacher who died three years ago.

“I was Tara Greene Estep’s sister-in-law, and she was a fourth-grade teacher for four years. Before that she was a fifth-grade teacher for five years. The fourth-grade teachers, after she passed away, started this scholarship because Tara was such a good role model. They knew she meant a lot to a lot of people, and a lot of kids were really influenced by her,” said Rebecca Greene, a teacher at Minford Middle School.

To receive the $500 scholarship, Minford seniors are asked to write an essay about Tara Greene Estep and how she has influenced their life. The scholarship will be available every year, until Estep’s last class of fourth-grade students graduate in 2017.

The school had a small scholarship fundraiser earlier this year, but not much more than that before the end of the school year arrived.

“We thought of this coin drive, because we thought it would be super easy,” Greene said. “A lot parents sent in whole big bags of pennies, and one little kindergartner brought probably 15 rolls of pennies.”

So Minford students in grades K-5 were asked to bring in their loose change during the penultimate week of school, May 7-11. In all, the students brought in 537 pounds of coin. It was taken to a coin counting machine at Desco (who agreed to waive the counting fee for the school) and totaled $2,000.64.

“On Monday we didn’t hardly collect any change at all because everybody forgot, so really that was only in four days,” Greene said. “And on the last day, we doubled what we raised the whole week.”

For collecting more change than any other class, the fourth grade was rewarded with a special half-day of outdoor water fun on Thursday, May 17.

“We started out with water tag and water guns, and they had a blast. We had teachers spraying the water hose as they ran by, and we did relay races where they had to soak a sponge in water and fill up a two-liter bottle. We also did a water balloon toss, and the boys relay had to put on a soaking wet T-shirt and then take it off and pass it to the next person. If you’ve ever tried to put on a wet T-shirt before … it’s pretty hard,” Greene said.

The girls relay challenge was to spray a ping pong ball into a two-liter bottle with a water hose, and everyone enjoyed the slip and slide.

Parents were all notified ahead of time and everyone brought an extra set of dry clothes to change into.

“We were really shocked and thankful. There were a lot parents on Facebook helping spread the word about the scholarship to other parents. We plan on making this an annual event now, since it went so well,” Greene said.

Anyone who would still like to contribute to the Tara Greene Estep Memorial Scholarship can make a donation at any of the Desco Federal Credit Union locations.

Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 235, or rottney@heartlandpublications.com.

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