WEST CARROLLTON, Ohio (WDTN) — A small fifth grade class assignment at Harry Russell Elementary in West Carrollton has turned into a school-wide fundraising campaign to raise money for endangered wildlife.

“We did reports on endangered animals in fifth grade. Every child made a slideshow that they had to present to their classmates, and somebody just kind of said–I can’t even remember who–wouldn’t it be cool to donate to an organization to help the endangered animals that we’re reporting on? And the next thing you know here we are!” describes 5th grade intervention specialist Carol Carrier.

That’s how “Change for a Change” was born, raising money for the World Wildlife Fund.

“It makes me really sad that people are just killing animals or taking down their habitats,” says fifth grader Kamille Wright.

“It makes me sad because they’re babies and they don’t know where to go,” echoes fifth grader Nelson Guevara.

“We’re hoping to change conditions for endangered animals,” says Carrier. “We are getting a lot of pocket change, but we are also getting a lot of paper money.”

In a week, they’ve already raised more than $400, hoping to reach a goal of at least $500.

“I feel like we already surpassed the goal of what we wanted it to start out to be, and now it’s grown into something a little bit more than that,” says fifth grade language arts teacher Michael Downing.

Students who donate are entered into a raffle for prizes; and if that isn’t incentive enough, if they reach $800, their principal will trade in his suit and tie for a onesie on the school’s Pajama Day.

“I feel certain we’ll surpass our goal,” says Carrier.

“I do hope to see Mr. Thobe in a onesie though,” admits Downing.

The fundraiser ends February 11.

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