NEWPORT BEACH — About a dozen blue balloons decorated a lone wheelchair in the middle of the flag deck Friday morning at Newport Elementary School.
Students sat in a horse-shoe shape around the chair, and parents gathered behind them to talk about not one wheelchair, but 52.
"So what does 52 wheelchairs look like?" Student Council President Barron Banta, 12, asked the audience.
Kids interspersed in the audience stood up and held identical pictures above their heads of someone in a wheelchair.
Newport Elementary presented a check for $3,084 to the Free Wheelchair Mission, an international nonprofit that provides wheelchairs to low-income people in the Third World with disabilities.
"Each of those wheelchairs will change the lives of these people," Barron, a sixth-grader, told his peers. "Fifty-two people can now work and get to school because of you."
The school raised nearly three times more than the amount of money needed for their original goal of buying 18 wheelchairs — or one from each classroom.