COESSE — Fifth graders at Coesse Elementary School held a fundraiser for the Whitley County Humane Society, raising $545.01 in cash and donating two laundry baskets full of toys, treats, food and other items.

“Before leaving fifth grade, we wanted to give back to the community,” a letter from the class said. “As a class, we decided that we all care for animals.”

Last year, the fifth grade collected milk jugs and plastic to create a Buddy Bench. The activity from last year motivated this year’s class to do something special as well.

“A Cause for Paws” was launched in March, selling March Madness brackets for $1 apiece. They also took donations for food, litter, toys and other needs for the shelter. The student with the most accurate bracket received a coupon book full of fun things to have during the school day.

Each grade level also competed. The one that earned the most money received a pajama day, movie and extra recess. The second-place class received extra recess and a movie, and the third-place class earned an extra recess.

Fifth graders worked together to create advertisements, the proposal and collect money.

“This has been a big and important project for our class,” the letter said. “We wanted to spread the word about giving back to the humane society and maybe motivate others to give back as well.”