BRUNSWICK — During Maine Catholic Schools Week (Jan. 25-31), students at St. John’s Catholic School are hoping to turn pennies into dollars, and dollars into cures.

On Monday, Jan. 26, the school will kick off Pennies for Patients, a weeklong program in which students will collect and donate pennies in a “grade against grade” competition to see who raises the most money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The organization is the world’s largest nonprofit health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research and providing education and patient services.

“Our students are blessed with so many advantages in their lives,” said Patricia Berthiaume, principal at St. John’s Catholic School. “When there is a chance to help them learn about helping others in need, we see this as a way to help them grow into caring Catholic adults.

“When we pray for those in need during the school year, this will give meaning to the prayers,” she said. “They realize how sick these other children are and they really want to do something to help.”

The service project is part of the annual Maine Catholic Schools Week which celebrates the mission of Catholic Schools: To evangelize students by nourishing faith and encouraging academic excellence while accentuating the importance of community and service in a nurturing environment.

As part of the week-long celebration, St. John’s will host a variety of special events, including the creation of Valentine’s cards for homebound parishioners and nursing home residents, and writing thank you notes for priests.

For a complete schedule of Maine Catholic Schools Week activities at St. John’s, visit school.

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