kids posing ringing bell

“Ringing” In The New Year

First Graders “Ring In” the Local Holiday Season of Giving

Community Giving Trees and Salvation Army red kettles have appeared around town, signaling the annual holiday giving season. The 61 first graders from Washington Elementary School are proud to be participating in the bell ringing, and will continue to ring in the holidays until December 19. To support this cause, Washington students and their families were asked to bring their “pocket coins” to donate in the kettle. All money raised will be given to the Salvation Army to support their community programs.

“My goal is to help my students understand that we sometimes have more than others, and this is our way of helping,” said Karla Volrath, Washington Elementary first grade teacher. “Many children tell me the money they donate is from their piggy banks. Those are the children that understand. We are building the character of compassion, understanding, and helping others in the hearts of our students…now and for the future.”

Volunteers who signed up were first graders from Karla Volrath’s, Sandra Sterling’s, and Richard Cromwell’s classes. Shifts were covered by two students at a time, and for many of the first graders, this is their first time participating in a community giving program. They are having fun and raising money for those in need…they already have a third of the bucket full after only a week of ringing!

These 2017-18 Washington first graders continue an annual tradition of bell ringing at their school. Last year’s bell ringers collected $486.35 in pocket coins. Through the years, the Washington students and families have given a total of $4,405.60 to the Salvation Army with their red kettle donations. Students are looking forward to counting that change to see how far they have exceeded the amount last year.


“I started this as an opportunity for first graders to give back to our community about 13-14 years ago,” said Volrath. “I often hear former students say ‘I remember when I rang the bell. That was fun.’ I love seeing the smiles, singing, and dancing as they ring the bell and have fun with their friends for a few minutes of being in the spotlight.”