COVINGTON, Ga. - If you drove past Newton Federal Bank on Highway 278 Friday morning and saw a lot of police cars don’t worry, the bank was safe. Covington’s finest were at the bank to assist Newton Federal employees and members of the Newton County Theme School PTO with counting over $7,000 raised for Officer Matt Cooper by students during the school’s two-week “Coin Wars,” also called “Coins for Cooper”.
The officers had picked up the coins at the school and transported them to the bank.
Michelle Jenkins of the NCTS PTO said the coin competition was a chance for the students to be involved in doing something for Officer Cooper and his family. Officer Cooper’s wife, Kristen, is a fifth-grade teacher at the school.
“What we really wanted to do was come up with something that the kids could really be engaged in,” she said. “That they could have some hands-on experience to truly see what their money looks like and where it’s going.
“And of course, because Officer Cooper’s wife is a teacher at our school, we are very vested with the Cooper family and we thought what can we do? Every kid has got a piggy bank and every mom has got a car console with loose change, so we thought that’s a great way for kids to feel like they’re making a contribution.”
Student’s raised $7,240 over a two week period to help Officer Cooper through Police Who Care. Fifth graders raised the largest amount totaling $2,418.33, including a five gallon Home Depot bucket full of change donated by a grandfather who had saving the coins for four decades.
Newton Federal Branch Manager Greta Heard said her branch was happy to help with the coin counting.
“The moment we heard about Matt Cooper, we knew that we wanted to be involved,” she said,” And we are always involved in the community- not only with the community, but with the school system. When Hillary (Edgar) reached out to me I told her it was our pleasure. We want to do this for the community.”
After the coins were counted, PTO members and Covington police officers returned to the school and listened as Principal Naomi Cobb announced the results. When the totals were announced, officers went into the fifth-grade classrooms and celebrated with the students.
According to the NCTS PTO Facebook page, an additional $760 was donated by a man at the bank bringing the total for the drive to $8,000.
For raising the most money, the fifth graders will be rewarded with a Kona Ice party.