Students throughout the city of Delaware recently collected more than $1,100 to donate toward a statue of Rutherford B. Hayes that will be erected in downtown this October.
Rutherford B. Hayes High School Principal Richard Stranges said Wednesday that students were encouraged to give a cent toward the statue during an event he called “Pennies for the President.” Stranges said donations were collected at every school in the district as well as at Delaware Christian School and St. Mary School.
“The pennies were collected by every student in Delaware,” Stranges said. “We thought it appropriate that the students, the children of Delaware, took us over the top with our fundraising. I think when we set out on the project of bringing Hayes home, our goal is to leave a legacy that the students can enjoy for more years than I’ll be here.”
Stranges said he had a goal of getting $500 and was shocked when students in Delaware donated $1,111.41. He said Richwood Bank then counted the donated pennies and presented them a check for the money.
Stranges added he was thankful that Greif, Inc. agreed to match donations, essentially meaning students hit the $500 goal four times over.
As for the Hayes statue, Stranges said the plan is for it to be placed at the southwest corner of the intersection of Sandusky Street and William Street on Oct. 4, the former president’s birthday. Stranges said the whole project will cost about $125,000 and has been in the works for years.
“Every time they pass by they’ll know ‘I was a part of that,’” Stranges said. “He’ll welcome everyone to the city.”
During the “Pennies for the President” drive, students were also invited to sign scrolls that will be rolled up and placed inside the statue.
“I got to watch the students as they came and put money inside the jar and signed the scroll,” Stranges said. “There was a sense of pride in their faces. We could have just passed the jar around social studies classes, but I think we wanted to make it a significant memory … I think it’s something they’ll never forget, because they were part of it.”
Stranges added he’s also planning on having a bust of Hayes made for the rotunda of Hayes High School.
“He made a great impact on education,” Stranges said. “We are the only high school in the country named after him. It’s going to be cool.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.