Grandview holds Penny Wars in Memory of Student

Grandview holds Penny Wars in Memory of Student
Posted on 12/05/2018
penny wars for Justice

Grandview holds “Penny War”

in memory of classmate


Last Memorial Day, just before the end of the school year, Justice Freeman, a seventh grade student at Grandview Middle School, tragically lost his life in an automobile accident.

Justice was loved by everyone.  His family loved him deeply; but he was also loved by his many friends, classmates and teachers.

According to one of his teachers, Jennifer Greene, Justice will always be remembered for his smile, his contagious laugh, his athleticism, and his voice.

“Grandview Middle School held a student memorial service in the school’s gymnasium last year, which was very fitting, as this was his favorite place at the school,” said Greene.

“Following the Grandview service, everyone walked to the school’s painted rock, which had been painted in memory of Justice by Grandview students and their art teacher. We blew bubbles, while sharing tears and hugs,” said Greene.

Summer quickly arrived and passed, with the 2018-2019 school year back in session. Life moved forward, but the gap was still quite noticeable. Justice Freeman was absent from the eighth grade class.  “He left a legacy in the hearts and minds of the eighth graders at Grandview,” said Greene.

So with the obvious and painful gap combined with the desire to keep his memory alive on the Grandview campus, the team of students, teachers and parents brainstormed additional methods to remember Justice Freeman.  

During the weekend prior to his untimely death, Justice diligently worked with “Young People of Integrity” alongside the school’s Parent/Teachers Association (PTA) to pull weeds and clean the flower beds in front of the school.  In his memory, the PTA purchased a bench and placed in the front of the school where Justice had given of his time to help improve the school’s appearance.

In addition, the school’s Booster Club was actively engaged in raising funds for banners to hang in the school’s gym, a fundraiser to help pay for student equipment and uniforms. “One of Justice’s teachers, Wade Fisher, came up with the idea to also purchase a banner in memory of Justice. The entire Grandview team was on board with this idea as they began a “Penny War,” organized by Jennifer Greene to help pay for the banner.

“I decided on this particular fundraising idea because Justice had many friends at school and this fundraiser allowed all students to contribute what they had, down to a penny. I was able to coordinate with some of his friends, now in the eighth grade. The fundraiser lasted two weeks with students emptying their piggy banks and teachers writing checks to make sure the banner would happen,” said Greene.

“The goal for the banner in Justice’s memory was $400. The students actually raised $621. Justice played football for the Grandview Eagles as #51 and therefore, his name and number are printed on the special banner,” said Greene.

The banner was raised on Tuesday, November 20th, in memory of Justice and in honor of his birthday.  The “raising of the banner” event included special guests: Justice’s mother, Darla Roberts, and his brother, as well as former teachers and district administrators. The banner was printed by Deluxe Printing Group—with Deluxe providing a courtesy duplicate banner to Justice’s family.

The $221 additional funds raised beyond the cost of the banner will now be used to start a scholarship fund in memory of Justice Freeman. The scholarship is designated for members of the Class of 2023.  According to Greene, the scholarship criterion is still in the planning stages; but additional fundraisers will be organized for future scholarship contributions.

Several Grandview students reflected on their memories of Justice:

“It is a good thing to remind students about Justice, like the sixth graders, who didn’t know Justice. Also for the football players, trying out for football, they need to know who he was.”

-Bradley Proctor

“When they told us about the Penny Wars, it gave us a reason to earn more money because it shows everyone how much he impacted us. It makes me a little bit sad when I look at the banner because it’s still hard to believe he’s gone. I like to look at it and think of the good times, like when he and Latrell emceed for the talent show last spring.”

-Jaycee Hoover

“I wanted to be in the video to promote the Penny Wars because Justice was someone that I spent half my life with. The eighth graders were talking about how much they would raise; and they were shocked to see how much was actually raised at the end.”

-Belinda Yang

“When I first saw the banner, I felt great because it made me feel like he was still here with me in spirit.”

-Rayshawn Wray

To contribute to the Scholarship Fund in memory of Justice Freeman, call Grandview Middle School from Monday through Friday, 7:00 am – 3:30 pm: 828-328-2289.


To view more photos, visit the Hickory Public Schools Facebook page.

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