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C.S. Porter students collected change for World War II memorial in Washington, D.C.

A social studies and language arts lesson on World War II inspired students at C.S. Porter Middle School to run a monthlong penny drive in April, and they raised almost $1,300 to help build the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Pennies and spare change from fellow students piled up as five eighth-graders aired a short video they produced to raise awareness among fellow classmates in grades 6-8. The video explained the need for support of the WWII memorial and included a short skit of a soldier saying goodbye to his family as he went off to war.

"Some kids obviously kicked in a bunch," said Doug Heyer, a school counselor. "It was pretty incredible."

The students raised $1,276.35 in coins.

Jessie Goodburn, 14, an eighth-grader who participated in the video production, said a few students asked if they could do some type of skit on the issue and the teachers came up with the idea of a video. Students wrote the script and acted it out.

"I think it is important because if people learn about history, we're less likely to repeat our mistakes," she said. "It's really important people know what the soldiers and families went through."

Lee Anne Magee, 14, said the video shows that not only did the soldiers go through difficult times fighting, but families also suffered when they lost their family members.

"So many people went through the war and didn't get recognized for it," she said. They lost family members and experienced a lot of pain, but they did it for their country and went on with their lives, she said.

The National World War II Memorial, the first memorial dedicated to all who served during WWII, will honor all military veterans of the war as well as the citizens on the home front, the nation at large and the high moral purpose and idealism that motivated the nation's call to arms.

It will be located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., at the east end for the reflecting pool, between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. President Clinton dedicated the memorial site on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 1995.

A national fund-raising campaign has been under way. Notable supporters who have worked to raise public awareness include former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole, who is co-chairing the campaign; Oscar award-winning director Steven Spielberg; Oscar award-winning actor Tom Hanks; and Frederick W. Smith, FDX Corp. chief executive officer and president who is also serving as fund-raising co-chair.

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