Competing to give back

First Posted: 1/2/2009

By appealing to the competitive side of faculty and students, two area schools also helped out those less fortunate for the holidays.
Gentry and Pilot Mountain middle schools decided to have a competition centered around the canned food drive in which both schools take part. The prize was that the losing schools principal would serve lunch one day at the winning school, wearing the winning schools colors.
The idea was Dennis Lawsons, principal at Pilot Mountain Middle and he put in a call to Tom Hemmings, principal at Gentry Middle, who liked the idea as well. Both schools raised about double the amount of cans they normally do during the same time period.
We always do a can drive around Christmas. Im a firm believer in youve got to give back to the community, said Lawson. We didnt want to make it into a straight competition. The students need to realize it helps the community and the people around them.
I think the competition was fun and was a good idea. We thought it would maybe help generate more interest or excitement in the food drive, said Hemmings.
Both schools responded in force with food to help out the cause and their school. The student council at Pilot Mountain Middle collected cans in the mornings and afternoons as cars came to drop off and pick up students. Both schools also had drop off points inside the buildings. Both principals noted that the parents in each communities got into the competition as well.
The kids, the teachers and the parents got into it, said Hemmings.
The parents of Pilot really got behind it. I dont like to lose and a lot of parents dont like losing either, said Lawson.
Because Pilot Mountain Middle has more students than Gentry Middle, the principals decided the best way to determine the winner was to count the number of cans per student. The competition lasted for about three weeks, ending Dec. 19 when students got out for winter break.
Gentry Middle ended up collecting around eight cans per student for a total of around 3,800 cans. Pilot Mountain Middle collected around 11 cans per student, bringing the total to around 5,800 cans. In all, about 9,600 cans were collected and donated to local organizations.
Pilot Mountain Middle chose to donate their cans to Pilot Mountain ministries while Gentry Middle decided to donate to Second Harvest Food Bank. This allowed goods collected by the schools to directly help the communities in which they are located.
Noting the success of the campaign this year with the added incentive of a competition, both schools hope to continue the tradition next year.
I think it was a good idea and hopefully we can do it again, said Hemmings.
Contact Morgan Wall at [email protected] or 719-1929.

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