More than $1,400 has been returned to its owner after a group of sixth- and seventh-graders found the money during a roadside cleanup.
The Riverwatch Middle School Builders Club made the discovery along James Burgess Road during an Adopt-a-Road trash pickup.
The club, sponsored locally by Cumming Kiwanis, is a chapter of the largest middle school community service organization in the world, said teacher Dana Hunley.
While doing their usual upkeep of the mile between St. Columba’s Episcopal Church and the Turnberry subdivision in November, Hunley said an excited girl ran over to her.
“’Mrs. Hunley, look what I found,’” she said. “And she held up a $100 bill.”
The student at first wanted to keep it, but Hunley said they needed to think about what to do with the single bill.
“Then the next child came running up going ‘Look,’ and had a handful. There were four [$100 bills] in it,” Hunley said. “Then they all started really scurrying to look.”
In total, the students found $1,419 lying in open areas along the side of that stretch of road.
The final $100 bill found was next to two driver’s licenses and some credit cards that all shared the same name.
The group called the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, which Hunley and the children agreed was “the right thing to do.”
The deputy took down the details, some photos and the cash.
After that, Hunley said her students asked every day if the owner of the loose bills had been found.
Being able to finally tell them that the money had been returned was a great day, she said.
“The felt they did the right thing that they found this, and they were very glad that they had been out there to find it that day,” she said. “It was another way to do a community service activity.
“We almost got a two-for because we cleaned up trash and we found somebody’s money.”
Finding money on the side of the road isn’t that unusual, but finding that much certainly is, said Tammy Wright, director of Keep Forsyth County Beautiful.
Wright said she was reading the reports from the Sunday cleanup when she came into work Monday morning, and figured the amount of money was a typo.
“I thought they left a decimal out,” she said. “It was unbelievable.”
Wright said she kept in contact with the deputies, who believed the cash was likely lost by leaving a wallet outside of a car before driving away.
“It was just a blessing that this person got it back,” she said, adding that the owner was located recently.
Hunley said the group’s focus is to build leadership skills and foster the importance of doing community service while the kids are young.
She was proud of her club for upholding these values in the big find.
“It’s very fortunate that these kids found them and not someone else because money is not very traceable,” she said. “Somebody else may not have done the right thing.”