LANCASTER – Linda Verde School teacher Terry Hermansen and his 33 fifth-graders have been picking up pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters they find on the road or sidewalk to put in a classroom fund. At first they thought they would use the money, so far totaling about $13 in coins, to help pay for an end-of-the-year party. But then, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast. “We discussed having a party at the end of the year, then with what happened with New Orleans, the kids decided to donate it to hurricane victims instead,” Hermansen said. The idea for gathering up stray, scratched-up coins started with Hermansen, who nine months ago started commuting to work on his bicycle. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week He noticed coins on the pavement as he biked across Lancaster from his home near Antelope Valley College to the school on 5th Street East. He started picking them up and bringing them to his class. His students, in turn, began bringing in money they would find while walking or bicycling to school. Thursday’s yield, for example, included two quarters found by a student, and a dime, nickel and penny picked up by Hermansen. Ten-year-old Analuisa Rico has found the most money – $1.29. “In the morning, I ride my bike to school, and on the road, I find the money,” Rico said. As for helping out the less fortunate, Rico said it’s a nice idea. “It’s nice for us because we are giving it to charity,” Rico said. “We are not keeping it for ourselves. It’s fun and nice to give to people who don’t have stuff like we do.” Student Russell Laubacher said he finds the money he’s brought in around the parking lot of the condominium complex where he lives. “A lot of people are running around and stuff and they drop money; I just find them,” Laubacher said. “It’s really great. People who don’t have money, they can get money and they can buy food and stuff.” Giovani Yanez, 10, has gathered up 75 cents. He said his father has found money, too, to contribute to the fund. “I think it’s exciting and nice,” Yanez said. “We are giving money to people who don’t have homes. They are poor, and they need stuff.” Hermansen said the class would be asking businesses to match the class’ donation to the Red Cross or another organization that is providing relief to the hurricane victims. The students are still deciding whether to make a donation at Christmas or wait until the end of the year. Hermansen said his main route to school was along Lancaster Boulevard. He said he usually finds coins at stop lights. If the money gets scarce along his regular trek, he tries different roads, such as Avenues G and H. “It increases my workout,” Hermansen said. Karen Maeshiro, (661) 267-5744 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!