Fourth-grade students at Washington Elementary School gave up their usual Friday afternoon treats to donate $31.77 in pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters to victims of the earthquake in Soviet Armenia.

"We were reading about the Red Cross effort in the paper and the kids just starting digging into their pockets," said teacher Ruth Cook. "It was really spontaneous."Cook's class was studying geology when the earthquake hit Dec. 7, and discussions soon turned to the hardships being endured by the Armenian people. Her students decided to donate their weekly candy money to the victims.

"I think when they heard about it, at first they thought, `Russians, they're the enemy.' But that changed to `How can we help,"' Mrs. Cook said.

All the students wrote letters to an official at the Soviet Embassy in Washington, D.C., explaining the donation. Nine-year-old Jared Howell's letter was chosen.

"We are very sorry to hear about the tragedy. We have thought a lot about the people who were left without families and homes, and would like to do what we can to try to help," he wrote. "Please accept our Christmas gift from Idaho to Russia."