ELMSFORD, N.Y. -- Students at the Alice E. Grady School collected nearly 200 pounds of Halloween candy last week, all for U.S. servicemen and women located in various hotspots around the world.
Under the direction of math teacher Barrie Hittner, these second- to sixth-grade students participated in the Halloween Candy Buy Back program, in collaboration with Operation Gratitude, which sends approximately 150,000 care packages to deployed troops every year.
These students are among thousands of young children across the country to participate.
Hittner ran a similar drive last year, after reading about the initiative and felt it would be a good way for students to practice their math skills.
Prior to Halloween night, the students spent a couple of hours over the course of a few days creating posters that were prominently placed around the school, and they also helped draft letters home to parents, explaining the project.
"This project has been just as rewarding as it was last year," Hittner said. She said they surpassed last year's total by about 70 pounds.
After her students collected the candy, she incorporated a variety of math activities -- including counting, separating, measuring and estimation, in addition to making predictions.
Younger students created picture and bar graphs, while the older children used their knowledge of ratios, fractions, decimals and percentages.
Ramapo Dental Care, in Suffern, partnered in the Operation Gratitude program with the students. Its office manager accepted the students' donation last Friday and will be giving the students $190 in exchange.
Hittner said the students will soon vote on ways to spend the money.
"This continues to be a win-win for all involved. Not only is it reinforcing crucial math concepts, it has also emphasized the importance of community service. As long as the dentist's office is willing to accept our candy, I will continue to run this event."