HAMMONTON - Students and staff at St. Joseph High School held their own version of March Madness this month, and six charities were the winners.

Each of the four grades and the faculty chose a charity to support, and the entire school also supported the Rice Bowl project from Catholic Relief Services. Rice Bowl is a Lenten faith-in-action program for parishes, schools and families.

Students in each class sold T-shirts for their charities, with a small portion of sales going toward the Rice Bowl project. They also held a penny jar war, and competed against each other in a basketball tournament, with the winning class taking on the faculty.

This year the faculty raised $100 for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. The Senior Class raised $350 for Wound-ed Warriors Project, the junior class raised $250 for Nikki's Foundation, People Against Distracted Driving, the sophomore class raised $200 for the Breast Cancer Foundation and the freshman class raised $200 for the Make a Wish Foundation. Another $125 was raised for the Rice Bowl project for a total of $1,225 raised.

The school has also registered as student ambassadors for Wounded Warrior Project, and a representative from the organization recently spoke at the school.

The project assists injured soldiers and their families. Representatives from the Rice Bowl project and PADD also visited the school.

The event was coordinated by the Student Government. Advisor Maureen Dean said students get very involved. Each class made posters and decorated a school hallway to represent their charity - with a red, white and blue hallway for Wounded Warriors, pink for the Breast Cancer Foun-dation, blue for the Make a Wish Foundation, and purple for PADD, the favorite color of Nikki Kellenyi, of Washington Township, Gloucester Cou-nty,who was killed in a distracted driving accident in 2012.

Her father, Michael, spoke at the school recently.

Dean said several students knew Nikki Kellenyi. She said students will often choose charities that have a personal connection to them and they get very involved in making the fundraising successful.

"This is the Super Bowl of St. Joe's," she said.

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