Students turn school rivalry into good deeds - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Students turn school rivalry into good deeds

Posted: Updated:
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Parkersburg man pleads guilty to Kroger robbery in Beckley

    Parkersburg man pleads guilty to Kroger robbery in Beckley

    Friday, August 29 2014 12:46 PM EDT2014-08-29 16:46:21 GMT
    A man who robbed the Kroger on Harper Road in Beckley, WV bank in March, went before a judge on Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. Jonathan James Rager pleaded guilty to Second Degree Robbery in front of Judge John Hutchison.
    A man who robbed the Kroger on Harper Road in Beckley, WV bank in March, went before a judge on Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. Jonathan James Rager pleaded guilty to Second Degree Robbery in front of Judge John Hutchison.
  • Beckley Police investigate shots fired on 8th Street

    Beckley Police investigate shots fired on 8th Street

    Friday, August 29 2014 12:11 PM EDT2014-08-29 16:11:03 GMT
    A person opened fire at a home in Beckley during the early morning hours of Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. Detectives are investigating a case of shots fired along 8th Street, which is just off of Johnstown Road. The incident happened at around 2 a.m.
    A person opened fire at a home in Beckley during the early morning hours of Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. Detectives are investigating a case of shots fired along 8th Street, which is just off of Johnstown Road. The incident happened at around 2 a.m.
  • Deveron Patterson pleads guilty to 1st Degree Murder

    Deveron Patterson pleads guilty to 1st Degree Murder

    Friday, August 29 2014 10:45 AM EDT2014-08-29 14:45:11 GMT
    A case that began almost a year ago lead to a guilty plea in Kanawha County court on Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. Deveron Patterson, 26, of Raleigh County pleaded guilty to a First Degree Murder charge in connection with the death of Kareem Hunter in Sept. 2013.
    A case that began almost a year ago lead to a guilty plea in Kanawha County court on Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. Deveron Patterson, 26, of Raleigh County pleaded guilty to a First Degree Murder charge in connection with the death of Kareem Hunter in Sept. 2013.
  • EducationMore>>

  • Professor of psychology at Glenville State College takes teaching to the seas

    Professor of psychology at Glenville State College takes teaching to the seas

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 3:34 PM EDT2014-08-27 19:34:28 GMT
    When most people envision a college professor in action, the traditional image of people convened in a room in ideally rapt attention more often than not comes to mind.
    When most people envision a college professor in action, the traditional image of people convened in a room in ideally rapt attention more often than not comes to mind.
  • Valley College scheduled to hold graduation ceremony Sept. 12

    Valley College scheduled to hold graduation ceremony Sept. 12

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 9:54 AM EDT2014-08-26 13:54:04 GMT
    On Friday, September 12, Valley College will hold a graduation ceremony at Cornerstone Family Church in Princeton.
    On Friday, September 12, Valley College will hold a graduation ceremony at Cornerstone Family Church in Princeton.
  • WVU Tech and WVU sign 4+1 MBA Pathway agreement

    WVU Tech and WVU sign 4+1 MBA Pathway agreement

    Monday, August 25 2014 1:42 PM EDT2014-08-25 17:42:26 GMT
    On Tuesday, August 26, West Virginia University Tech Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering and Sciences and West Virginia University College of Business and Economics are set to sign an agreement establishing 4+1 MBA Pathway.
    On Tuesday, August 26, West Virginia University Tech Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering and Sciences and West Virginia University College of Business and Economics are set to sign an agreement establishing 4+1 MBA Pathway.

Cross-town school rivals in Weirton banded together last year to help children and adults in need, collecting more than 5,000 pounds of food, more than 300 pairs of socks, backpacks and kids’ clothing and a nationwide prize for “making a difference” in their community.

Now the students, members of the Interact clubs at Weir High School and Madonna High School, are at it again, making plans this year to help the Weirton Christian Center, a local group that provides supervised preschool and after-school care, meals and learning programs for children in the community.

“Two rival high schools came together to make a difference in our community,” said Renee Howard, sponsor of the Weir High Interact club. “Our clubs are not that large. We have about 40 members, but all the kids tried to participate in one way or another — even the ones who were busy with sports still did what they could do.”

The “Make A Difference Day” contest, sponsored by Points of Light, Gannett and USA Weekend, was a nationwide competition, drawing thousands of entries from across the country. A total of 13 awards were distributed, three of them to cities.

The Weirton group, one of the three city award winners, tagged the project, “warm your heart and warm your sole,” as a reference to the socks that were collected.

The kids went door-to-door to collect non-perishables and toiletries for the Salvation Army and the Community Breadbasket, and also manned donation bins at local sporting events. The result? Enough food to fill up an SUV, a pickup and the Salvation Army food truck.

“It was a lot of food, and they were just so thankful for the help,” Howard said. “This is a very giving community.”

The clubs also supplied socks, backpacks, sweatpants and sweatshirts to help disadvantaged kids at an elementary school.

And when a family in a neighboring community lost everything, including a child, in a house explosion, the group added the family to the list.

Howard said she thinks the contest judges not only appreciated the fact that young people were trying to help their community, but also that a community devastated by downsizing in the domestic steel industry would rally together to help them do it.

“I guess they did their research, found out (what the community has been through),” she said. “That and the fact that it was children helping children, the two high schools coming together.”

What came as a surprise to many in the community was the fact that students from the two schools, bitter rivals on the playing field, could and would work together.

“That was one of the things I’m proudest of,” said Alisandra Welch, a former member of Madonna Interact. “A lot of people were hesitant about the two schools trying to work together, but it worked out better than I could have imagined. The support was there from both sides.”

Howard said the project garnered widespread support, with groups like Rotary and Kiwanis pitching in. City employees also staged a food drive to help the cause.

“Weirton being such a small city, I honestly didn’t know that we could do something so big,” Weir High Interact member Jennifer Kinder said. “It’s mind blowing that we could do (it).”

Welch said she figured the project was a long shot to win — at best.

“We entered the contest to kind of record what we did; I didn’t really think we had a shot of winning,” she said. “When I found out we were one of the winners ... I can’t even put it into words.”

As winners, the group earned a $10,000 cash prize for the charities of their choice. They gave half to the Salvation Army, the other half to Community Breadbasket.

Howard and Madonna’s Lauren Parsons attended the awards dinner in Washington, D.C., hosted by Jenna Bush Hager. Also in attendance were Jon Bon Jovi and Today Show hosts Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie.

Howard said the clubs are already at work on the Christian Center project, which will involve redoing one of the rooms in the building, interacting with children over summer break and helping improve a nearby playground.

“I have higher hopes now, and knowing that we actually won something I expect a lot more,” Kinder said. “We definitely have to work a lot harder this year.”