for immediate release
"War" breaks out in suburban Philadelphia;
HARRISBURG, Feb. 07 - During the Civil War, Philadelphia and surrounding communities produced legions of volunteers who served the Union. In recognition of that heritage, eighth grade students at Upper Merion Middle School in King of Prussia recently marched off to battle, enlisting in Readshaw's Rangers and engaging in a "penny war" to benefit the Pennsylvania Gettysburg Monuments Project.
The eighth grade homerooms locked in combat, loading penny after penny into their arsenal to see which would bring in the most to meet the Readshaw Challenge of state Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, who is spearheading the drive to preserve the 146 Pennsylvania monuments in the Gettysburg National Military Park. Readshaw's supporters in the effort were dubbed "Readshaw's Raiders" in one newspaper report and the nickname stuck.
The Readshaw Challenge, supported by the Pennsylvania State Education Association, challenges schools across the Commonwealth to actively involve their students in helping to preserve the monuments, many of which are more than 100 years old and showing the effects of time, weather and in some cases, vandalism.
Ultimately, the Upper Merion students stockpiled 44,813 pennies -- $448.13. In a letter that accompanied the resulting check to the Pennsylvania Gettysburg Monuments Project, Social Studies teacher Laura E. Smith told Readshaw, "We visited Gettysburg this past November and the students saw many of the monuments you are trying to save."
"Thanks to the eighth graders and their teachers at Upper Merion, they'll be able to return to Gettysburg anytime in their lives and see those monuments standing as proudly as they did when the veterans of Gettysburg first erected them," Readshaw said. "And they will know they personally helped to keep them standing in remembrance of the brave Pennsylvanians who fought to preserve their home state and the Union at Gettysburg."
Readshaw and the Pennsylvania Gettysburg Monuments Project may be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone, 717-783-0411.
Updated: February 08, 2001
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