Chamberlin Elementary students have been hard at work collecting coins and raising $4,272.09 for their ‘Your Change Can Change Lives’ drive benefiting Erath County United Way.

“I never dreamed it would be that much and we are so proud of them," Chamberlin Principal Jennifer Salyards said. "Every year our staff has a United Way drive and we just thought this year we would open it up to the kids."

The coin drive was a competition between classrooms, which adds a little fun for the students and teachers. Boxes and bags full of coins were taken to Citizens National Bank where they were put into a coin machine to be counted. Salyards said she really appreciated the bank's help with the drive and thanks everyone for their work.

“We’re doing it by weight, so each day we weigh the coins that the classes bring in and we tell them who is ahead,” Salyards said. “I heard from one mom that she went to the bank and got $20 of pennies to give to her kid.”

The winning classes were Annette Storrs' first grade class and Brittany Magin's second grade class.

“Our students are young but not too young to learn the value of giving back to our community,” Salyards said. “Our tag line of ‘your change can change lives’ helps to illustrate that. Money donated to United Way supports programs for all ages in our community.”

As a prize, the two classes will get to attend the pep rally at Stephenville High School on Oct. 14.

“I hope what they’re learning is that it’s not just a competition,” Chamberlin librarian Lynne Hamilton said. “I’ve asked them and made sure they understand that this change is helping people all around Erath County.”