School Cents supports students

What may start out as a simple shopping trip can turn into a way to earn money for the school. Between Sept. 1 and April 30, shoppers at The Oaks Shopping Center can participate in the School Cents fundraiser, an initiative started to make it easy to raise money for local schools.

“School Cents is a shopping rewards program for local K-12 schools. Students, parents, staff and other supporters are able to submit receipts from purchases made at The Oaks to earn points for their school. Each school will earn a prize of $250 to $2,500 at the end of the program,” Nora Levy, the owner and founder of Shopping Partnership, said.

Shopping Partnership has sponsored school rewards programs at shopping centers since 1992, and previously sponsored another program at The Oaks mall.

“The first school rewards program actually began in 1992, and was called Tools 4 Schools,” Levy said. “School Cents at The Oaks started in 2008 through 2015, and started up again this year…NPHS has done very well in past School Cents program, coming in the top few spots, including first place a few years ago.”

The Oaks discontinued the program in 2015, but Levy said that “based on the needs of its schools,” they wanted to bring the program back.

Anyone who shops at the mall can take pictures of their receipts and submit them via the School Cents website, available through The Oaks website, or turn them in at the school office. Wendy Goldstein, PFA member, is the School Cents program coordinator for NPHS, collecting the receipts from the office and sharing special events that the program offers.

“This is what I would like to call a passive fundraiser. You don’t have to do anything that you wouldn’t do in order to benefit the school. We’ve been trained to save our Box Tops, attend booster club restaurant fundraisers, shop at Amazon Smiles, etc,” Goldstein said. “(So) shop, play and dine at The Oaks as you normally would, and save your receipts.”

Currently NPHS is in eighth place out of 25, with 65,680 points as of Oct. 16. Meadows Elementary School (MATES) is in first place with 216,900 points, but, “every school participating will get (a) percentage of the prize pool,” Goldstein said.

“This year, the 25 participating schools will earn $18,750. School prizes will be gift cards, which schools will be able to use to buy items for use at the school and/or classrooms, to support student incentive programs, assist with school fundraising or purchase other items needed. In addition, a $200 bonus will be given each month to the school with the most dollars logged, limit one bonus prize per school,” Levy said.

Some students, like Varna Kanapuram, junior, are encouraged by the School Cents program and see it as a convenient way to raise money for the school.

“It’s really cool that the mall and the other organization are making an effort to invest in our education,” Kanapuram said.

According to The Oaks website, the program ends May 31, but Levy says they “hope we’ll be able to offer the program for the next school year, and will likely be able to confirm a 2019-20 School Cents program in the Spring of 2019.”

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