Philip Stutey, the principal at St. Mary Catholic School, became a little more popular with middle school students at the school during a recent fund-raiser.

“For a month, students asked me at lunch for any spare change so they could add it to the competition,” said Philip Stutey, St. Mary principal. “Not only did they enjoy the competition, they enjoyed what the end of the competition brought; knowing they were helping others, learning the importance of the Drexel Fund to our school and having fun along the way.”

That was the result of a “Penny War.” The penny war was a new part of an annual fundraiser at the school — and it led to an increase in giving to that fundraiser of more than 47 percent over last year at a school that qualfies more than 60 percent of students for free and reduced lunch programs.

No one could confirm how many pennies Stutey donated to the cause.

The penny war concept was initiated by the St. Mary PTO in an effort to help the middle schoolers become more passionate about the Walk in Sister’s Shoes program.

“The middle schooler’s interest was beyond lining the halls with decorated paper shoes, so we provided them with something more age ­appropriate,” said PTO president Cathy Guyer.

Penny wars awarded points for pennies and bills and deducted points for silver coins.

“Since these students rotate through each other’s classrooms all day, they could happily deposit silver coins in their competitor’s boxes,” said teacher Marcia Oden. “It was fun to watch.”

After the four week competition, the sixth grade class won a pizza party on the playground, with the eighth grade serving and cleaning ­up after the party.

Collectively, the three classes totaled $585.89. The total school contribution came in at $1,778.11,

Walk in Sister’s Shoes, is a charity event coordinated through the Wichita Diocese that supports the St. Katherine Drexel Catholic School Fund. The fund supports lower ­income parish schools throughout the Diocese.