Fundraising efforts by Cedartown Middle School students have transformed the lives of children in Nicaragua following more than a year of work on a school-wide project.

The school’s hefty goal of “Dream Big, Make a Difference and Change our World” saw students band together to raise $20,000 through a variety of fundraising efforts for the new building in the Central American country.

Cedartown Middle media and technology specialist Laura Cox said the school’s student-driven efforts included the sale of T-shirts, stickers, handmade jewelry and greeting cards, collecting all their loose change and an Elf contest for the teachers.

Monetary donations were also made through the media center by giving back book fines and school supplies to the project as well.

Their efforts paid off.

The community of Kayasca, Nicaragua got a new school in to use this year, and students there are already utilizing the classrooms.

Cox said the project included several trips down to Nicaragua for Jennifer Tucker and Paige Gray, who also head up the school’s World Changers club.

“Educators, in general, always have an underlying goal of teaching our students to consider, understand, and respect their place in the world both locally and globally with every standard or unit that we teach,” Cox said.

Ultimately, the past year’s efforts during the 2016-17 school year and into this year made the difference in students who are half a world away.