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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spirit games gain dose of charity

High schoolers raise money, food for others

When teams from Shadle Park and North Central high schools clash in the Groovy Shoes spirit basketball games Tuesday, it won’t just be about scoring hoops – the game is also about charity.

“Last year our theme was superheroes; this year it will be school pride,” said Bryan Stutz, co-teacher of a leadership class at Shadle Park. “And we’re hoping to raise about $4,000 for Meals on Wheels.”

Fans and students usually purchase spirit packs containing T-shirts and props to wave during the game. After previous games, many were left behind on the floor.

“With the economy how it is, we didn’t want to spend a lot of money on something and see it just thrown away,” said Morgan Powell, student body president and a senior at Shadle Park. “So we decided to just do the T-shirts, save money by leaving the props out and still charge $10 for the spirit pack.”

That leaves a $6 “profit” from every pack, which will be donated to Meals on Wheels.

“The idea came about as something we were just joking about in leadership class,” Powell said. “Then we looked at each other and said, why don’t we just do it? It’s a better way to spend the money, for sure.”

The leadership class has also been calling local businesses to solicit donations.

North Central has the Groovy Shoes – the cherished spirit contest trophy – but Powell and Stutz said they’re confident Shadle will win them back this year.

At North Central this year’s theme is magic, said Samantha Anderson, student body adviser and English teacher.

“We raised more than 8,000 pounds of food” during a food drive, Anderson said. To enhance the collection, students from North Central camped out in front of Safeway on Northwest Boulevard for 15 hours.

“At our Safeway camp out we had a school bus donated from Durham Transportation Services and decorated it like the ‘magic’ school bus,” Anderson said. “We filled the entire bus with 5,000 pounds of food and necessities in addition to the 3,000 pounds of food and necessities we collected at our school competition.”

The Women’s and Children’s Free Restaurant and Anna Ogden Hall benefited from the donations. Some students also volunteered at the free restaurant, preparing and stocking the donated items.

At the Rubber Chicken game – Lewis and Clark vs. Ferris – Ferris raised a little more than $1,000 for “Shoes For Kids,” an offshoot of Spokane Scottish Rite Charities.

“They buy socks and shoes for less fortunate elementary schoolchildren right here in town,” said Michael Syron, athletic coordinator at Ferris.

For several years, Ferris donated to the Cancer Society in the name of longtime basketball coach Wayne Gillman, who died of cancer in 2001, Syron said.

“This year, because of the weather, we figured there must have been a great need for warm shoes here in our community,” Syron said. “The theme was ‘Chuck in the Chocolate Factory.’ It was great fun, but LC won the Rubber Chicken.”

Like North Central, Lewis and Clark had a food drive before Christmas. This year, students collected 5,855 pounds of food.

“LC always participates in a food drive to support Second Harvest Food Bank,” said Jeff Norton, boys basketball coach and athletic and activities director at Lewis and Clark. “That was about 1,000 pounds more than last year.”

The Gauntlet, the game between Rogers and East Valley, was played Jan. 16 – right at the tail-end of a series of snowstorms.

Eric Anderson, athletic director at Rogers, said the school is collecting donations for Make-a-Wish Foundation.

“We missed so many days of school, due to the weather, so we’ve extended the period we’re raising money in,” Anderson said. Donations are accepted through Friday so they haven’t tallied a total yet.

Reach Pia Hallenberg Christensen at 459-5427 or
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