POP QUIZ: Fairland collects tabs for cause

Published 10:05 am Tuesday, February 24, 2009

ROME TOWNSHIP — It’s pop tab time again at Fairland East Elementary School and the students are learning another way of how they can reach out to others in need.

For the past three years the seven kindergarten classes at the school compete with each other to see which class can bring in the most pop tabs.

This year all the classes combined collected a total of 345 pounds of tabs and the winner was the class of Bonnie Dennison that brought in 86 pounds.

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Students bring in the shiny tabs by the bags and bucketfuls and they are collected in each classroom. Then Chris Cielac, manager of the McDonald’s in Proctorville, comes at the end of February to collect them and weigh each class’s contribution.

“The class that gets the most tabs in pounds, we give them free Happy Meals,” Cielac says.

The other classes all get apple pies.

Cielac takes all the tabs to a recycling center and turns them into cash, which he contributes to the Ronald McDonald House.

“The Ronald McDonald House, they do such a great cause over there,” Cielac said. “And this brings out the competitive spirit also. It brings to mind the Ronald McDonald House and charities and lets them do something good.”

Assistant principal Abbie Pannell looks at the competition as another way for the young students to build character.

“This teaches them they will be helping out others through the Ronald McDonald House,” Pannell said. “Each year Ronald comes to the school and we try to talk to them about how this helps people who need a place to stay.”

In Huntington, W.Va., there is a Ronald McDonald House where out-of-town families can stay when a loved one is in an area hospital.

The children learn about the competition during the first part of the school year, but things don’t usually heat up until the after the Christmas holiday.

This year one of the single greatest contributors to the pop tab campaign was Emma Marshall, who single-handedly brought in more than 40 pounds of tabs.

“She’s been collecting for two years, since her sister, Allie, was in kindergarten,” Renee Marshall, her mother, said.