Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

January 28, 2011

Panther power punch

By Joe Olenick
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

NEWFANE — In order to help raise money, Newfane High School’s freshmen have gone to the community for a little punch.

Like all high school classes, the ninth graders were in need to raise money for their senior prom and yearbooks. But the graduating class of 2014 wanted to do something different, said class adviser Joe Najuch, which led to the creation of the “Panther Punch Card.” There are 159 kids in the freshman class this year.

“It works like the Entertainment Book,” Najuch, a math teacher at Newfane, said. “Except that it’s exclusive to Newfane businesses. The idea was to keep it local and keep the money in town.”

To start the unusual effort, Najuch and the first year Panthers went to local businesses asking for their support. How the punch card works is like this, each business puts a special on the coupon that customers can use. A customer comes to that business, uses the coupon and a number corresponding to that business special receives a punch. There are a total of 14 different specials, such as 10 percent off at Food King, Lighthouse Grill-n-Spirits or Del Fuego Steakhouse. At Kenyon’s Variety on Main people who buy a five piece potato log get another one for free.

The coupons are going for $10 each and over 100 have already been sold. Class officers have been selling them at school events, basketball games and even in the hallways of the building. There are also being sold at Wilson’s Pizza and Oxygen Salon.

“It’s gone pretty good so far,” said class president Kiki Dy.

The coupon sale should end by mid-February, Najuch said. But the coupons expire Dec. 31.

Getting the community more involved is something the school district has been working on to improve. Back at election time in May, school board candidates cited the need for more public interaction. Last week the school district hosted the Newfane Business Association for its monthly meeting. And the school board is currently looking for public input as it starts the 2011-12 school year budget process.

The Panther Punch Card serves three functions, encourages business in Newfane, helps the class raise money and shows the community and the school they support each other, Najuch said.

“It’s better than selling out of a catalog or selling frozen cookie dough,” he said. “And the community is getting involved, they’re supporting us.”

Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241.