Students celebrate final phase of ‘Penneys for JANE’

Burpee Museum of Natural History, JCPenney and CherryVale Mall staff watched as students from nearly 75 schools celebrated the fourth and final phase of the Penney’s for JANE Campaign Oct. 20.

Students saw their pennies disappear into a monster coin counter provided by US Bank—then loaded onto a Brinks truck and whisked away to the bank for deposit.

Phase IV, in partnership with JC Penney, Rockford School District No. 205 and CherryVale Mall, was launched at the grand opening of JCPenney at CherryVale Mall the beginning of August. Originally called “Pennies for JANE,” the campaign was renamed “Penney’s for JANE” to signify the expanded new partnership.

Students, teachers and volunteers were treated to a pizza lunch provided by Sbarro The Italian Eatery and sweet treats compliments of Target on State Street. A check presentation was made by Lynn Ehlers, JC Penney general manager, and Dr. Dennis Thompson, superintendent of School District No. 205, to Burpee Museum President Lew Crampton Oct. 23 during the Rockford Public Schools’ FOCUS: Excellence in Education Fair at CherryVale Mall.

JANE, the Burpee Museum of Natural History’s dinosaur discovery, has captured the imagination of thousands of area school children and families. For the past two years, a fund-raising campaign called “Pennies for JANE” has been underway in area schools to help the Burpee Museum build a permanent display for JANE. To date, with the help and support of students attending nearly 100 schools in the Rock River area, businesses, friends and Young Professionals from the Rockford Chamber of Commerce the campaign has raised nearly $28,000. All who participate in this campaign will receive special recognition for their contribution as part of the Burpee’s new $1 million exhibit scheduled to open in June 2005.

To thank the community for its past patronage and to celebrate the opening of its new store at CherryVale Mall, JCPenney, along with CherryVale Mall, approached the Burpee Museum to assist with fund-raising efforts for JANE. Thus the campaign was renamed the “Penney’s for JANE” campaign. It is a partnership between JCPenney, Burpee Museum of Natural History, CherryVale Mall and Rockford Public School District No. 205.

“For hundreds of years, children of all ages have been enthralled with dinosaurs,” Crampton said. “So it was no surprise when students from almost every school and grade level throughout the Rock River Valley wanted to help build a permanent display for JANE. We are equally excited to have JCPenney and CherryVale Mall join us in helping our kids reach their goal of $55,000, and set a record in the Guinness Book of World Records.”

On hand to celebrate the occasion were Rockford Mayor Doug Scott; Thompson; Nancy Kalchbrenner, District 205 School Board president; Ehlers; Mark Peterson, general manager of CherryVale Mall; Steve Christopherson, president of US Bank; Steve Appell, Village of Cherry Valley president; Crampton; and the newly crowned Miss Rockford, Ashley Diedrich.

The Burpee Museum of Natural History, established in 1941, is one of the preeminent mid-sized museums in Illinois. Its mission is to inspire all people to engage in a lifetime of learning about our natural world. More info: or Mimi DesRosiers at 965-3433, ext. 1005.

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