O’Connor teacher saves lives with change

June 11, 2013

Col. Dan Johnston, a teacher at O’Connor HS, knows the power of change. For the last three years, his school and classes have proudly participated in The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Pasta for Pennies program, one of LLS’s national School & Youth Programs that raises money to find cures for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

Col. Johnston jumped into the Pennies program motivating his six history periods to collect as much as possible – pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and dollar bills. In just three years, Col. Johnston’s history classes have raised almost $10,000!

The O’Connor Student Council organizes the Pasta for Pennies program every January. Cumulatively in the last three years, O’Connor students have raised $13,746.14 to support cancer research and patients right her in San Antonio. But Col. Johnston’s classes made the biggest contribution. In 2011, his classes collected $1,900; in 2012, they collected $3,600; in 2013, they reached their highest total yet -- $4,224.63. Col. Johnston’s classes alone contributed 70 percent of all funds raised for LLS by the campus.

When asked why this program means so much to him, Col. Johnston replied: “It comforts the soul to accomplish a task for the less fortunate, and that is what we achieved with the LLS fund drive. And to observe the amazing generosity of the students at O’Connor HS as they contribute gives me great confidence in the moral worthiness of the next generation. The spirit of caring and concern that is an American tradition is alive and well.”

“This was a great experience for our students,” said Principal Jackie Horras. “It taught them that they can make an important difference in the lives of others. It is gratifying that our students’ efforts are benefiting an outstanding organization like LLS.”