We’ve all heard of Box Tops for Education; little cardboard cutouts that are supposed to help schools get cash.

But how many boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch would you have to buy to make a difference? And do schools really collect and use them? Take it from Hendricks Ave Elementary School, it's a lot, but worth it!

“I just think it’s really cool how all the students pitch in a little bit,” says Catherine Shore. She’s a 4th grader at Hendricks.

For the kids at Hendricks Ave Elementary, Box Tops for Education drives are a frequent occurrence. The money they raise is used to buy new books, supplies and this year, a new broadcast studio.

Isaiah Narain gets to anchor the morning news, “I love technology. I love to work with it. It’s just one of the things I really like.” Shore told us her favorite part of the broadcast program, “ I really like the teleprompter because I love typing.” She's a bit of a self-proclaimed spelling whiz.

The 4th and 5th graders put on a live broadcast every morning. They do announcements, weather, birthdays and the pledge of allegiance. They end their broadcast telling students to, “Make it a great day, and remember soar like eagles!”

Robin Yates is a parent at Hendricks. She heads up the box top collection. “About once a quarter we do a collection drive where we have all the students send in box tops to each of the classrooms. And I have volunteers in each of the classrooms that help to count and sort all the box tops for me." About 40 volunteers help sort those tiny pieces of cardboard that can make such a big impact.

Yates’s daughter Leighton is part of the broadcast program. When Leighton signed up for the broadcast program, Yates started looking around at the equipment. The room was filled with chunky monitors, huge cameras, and a VHS player.

“I was brought into the broadcast for the first time and I could see the excitement in her eyes of using this equipment but then I took a look at the equipment and realized it was very outdated. And so as we were trying to determine a good way to use the box top money for the year. It was just a natural fit to upgrade the equipment.”

Andrew Hurst used to be a student at Hendricks Ave, now he’s the Media Clerk and helps corral the kids in the morning to put on their two-minute program. “That equipment that we were using last year was the equipment that I was using when I was a student.”

Yates and Hurst put their heads together and decided where the money from the box tops should go.

Now with the new mics, cameras, teleprompter, green screen and soundboard, these kids can learn real-life skills.

“My favorite part about doing the newscast is not only that I have my friends here because they are super fun,” says Shore, “But I love how you feel like you have a job to do. People are relying on you to just do the broadcast. Because if you weren’t there, If I wasn’t here, who would have the sound?”

So how many box tops does it take to make an impact?

Yates says, “It ends up being thousands of little box tops, each worth 10 cents. That doesn’t sound like much, but when you put that together with thousands of them, it ends up adding up to thousands of dollars. “

“I think it’s great, “ Says Hurst. “It’s a great thing that shows the smallest little effort that you put in can have a great impact.”

We can verify that yes, collecting box tops can make a big impact for a school. So get out your scissors and start clipping.

Box tops are not just on cereal boxes anymore. In fact, you can find them on paper towels, vegetables, and Ziploc bags.


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