HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. (CBS) — When a powerful tornado ripped through downstate Washington in November, Joe Ranallo set out to raise $10,000 as part of a class project to help provide some measure of relief to the victims – a goal he surpassed, and then some.

WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Berner reports Ranallo raised $15,000 with the help of classmates, family, school staff, and the community at Conant High School in Hoffman Estates. They’ll present the money to a representative from Washington High School at Senior Night at Conant on Friday.

“I wanted to do something from our high school to theirs,” Joe said.

He created “Conant Cares” as a class project after a powerful tornado destroyed hundreds of homes in Washington, in an effort to get money to those who needed it most.

“We started off with water jugs in the cafeteria, and any kid who would want to come in and donate money during the lunch periods, they were more than welcome to just drop some change. Any little bit counted,” he said. “One thing led to the next, and the whole entire community was able to just chip in.”

The fundraising drive had a presence at almost every school event or athletic game for three weeks, and local businesses were eager to chip in.

“Everyone was just genuinely happy about what this cause was for. Everyone wanted to help, because they knew what that community was going through,” he said.

Joe said he has to thank his parents.

“My mom and dad, you know, they’re compassionate people. They raised me to be the same way,” he said. “From deep down in my heart … I put myself in their shoes, and so I figured why not do anything I can to help?”

Not surprisingly, Joe ended up getting an A on his project.