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Students at Reed Elementary School in Lockport, Ill., wanted to find out what a million of something, anything, would look like. They are well on their way to finding out.

Craig Bates, a physical-education teacher there, came up with the idea of a One Million Coin Collection.

"I wanted to give the kids a concept of what a million looks like, so we keep the coins in large glass jugs that fit 20,000 coins each," Mr. Bates said. Students count the coins they bring in and put them through a coin counter.

"When the millionth coin is collected we will put the coins on display, and then the money will be used to purchase outdoor recreational equipment," Mr. Bates said.

The project began in the first week of November, and in their quest to reach the magic number, students are learning another lesson: patience. By the holiday break, the students had collected more than 203,000 coins.

Rhonda Gray, a teacher in Fort Smith, Ark., organized Project lead: High Expectations!, to help black youths, but the demand for the project's services led her to open it to all races.

Lead, or Link-Erase Alcohol and Drugs, is a part of a national program started by the links Foundation, based in Washington. As coordinator and leader of what she calls a "prevention-intervention program," Ms. Gray has brought help to an area that had little in the way of such services.

The Northside High School English teacher was honored recently with the Human Relations and Civil Rights Special Achievement Award by the Arkansas Education Assocation. The award is presented to a person or organization in honor of a single achievement that promotes human and civil rights and human relations. Ms. Gray's achievement has been two years in the making.

Students in the program meet three times a month to get information and training on topics such as self-esteem, substance abuse, and decisionmaking.

"I want the kids to be prepared for the future," said Ms. Gray, "but I also want them to be the future."

The Prince George's County, Md., schools superintendent, Edward M. Felegy, has announced that he will retire in June. He was named superintendent in June 1991. The 116,400-student system is facing possible big changes, including attempts to end nearly two decades of student busing and the launching of a program designed to improve student performance.

--ADRIENNE D.COLES

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