Firebirds rally to raise spirit and money for charity

Firebirds rally to raise spirit and money for charity

Photo: Sam Barton

By Brad Steel, Editorial Assistant

When it comes to Spirit Week, the annual Fairmont vs. Centerville Spirit Chain competition is always the center of attention. Since 1985, the two schools have raised $1.4 million for charity via the friendly contest. FHS sailed to victory in fundraising last year, collecting $68,000 compared to Centerville’s $42,000.  It was Fairmont’s fifth straight victory.

The big question is:  Can Fairmont thump Centerville again? With Spirit Week set for Sept. 24-28, the students at Fairmont certainly hope so.

Fundraising frenzy

In truth, the fundraising for Spirit Chain in Kettering begins long before Spirit Week. Fairmont’s Class Councils and United Student Body have been working hard to raise money for Spirit Chain since the summer. Fundraisers range from a huge community garage sale, penny wars and a pie-a-teacher event to a Spirit Carnival, community walk and a Powder Puff football game.

In addition, this fall has featured a variety of events designed to satisfy appetites while raising money. Recently, for example, patrons at BD’s Mongolian Grill could enjoy a dinner prepared by Fairmont teachers and Kettering’s mayor, who took over the grills for an evening.

Jenny Borchers, USB adviser and activities director, said Fairmont’s annual Spirit Shirt sale has been very successful, bringing in more than $2,000. Borchers attributes the success to the students’ hard work. “This year’s USB has been doing really well,” she said. “They’ve shown a lot of initiative and pride.”

Three charities selected

Each year, Fairmont selects the charities that will benefit from the school’s Spirit Chain fundraising. This year, the charities are Honor Flight Dayton, Shoes 4 the Shoeless and The Kettering Backpack Program.

Honor Flight Dayton is a branch of the Honor Flight Network that flies veterans to Washington, D.C., for a day to visit the memorials of the wars they fought in. Fairmont is sponsoring Honor Flight’s April trip, which will take World War II and Korean War veterans to the Capital.

Shoes 4 the Shoeless is an Ohio-based charity program that does exactly what its name implies: It provides shoes for children in the United States and internationally. Their policy is to provide 90 percent of their shoes to children in the Dayton area, and the other 10 percent to children throughout the United States and other countries.

The Kettering Backpack Program is the only returning charity from last year. This charity provides weekend take-home food for the district’s elementary and middle school students who are on the free and reduced lunch program. The Backpack Program provides food to more than 450 students.

Dress-up days

Many Fairmont students (and staff) look forward to the special dress-up days during Spirit Week. It’s an opportunity to wear non-traditional clothes to school without worrying about getting sent to the office.

Monday, Sept. 24, will be Pajama Day. “People always request Pajama Day on Monday,” said Borchers. Following that will be Backwards Day on Tuesday.

Wednesday will bring Fictional Character Day. Past Spirit Weeks have featured Superhero Day and Costume Day, and the USB hopes Fictional Character Day will encompass both of them. “It will be kind of like a Halloween,” Borchers said.

Thursday will bring a very different day as the theme is “A Day in the Country.” “Students could wear overalls or John Deere,” said Borchers, who also mentioned how the day can be interpreted differently by each student.  Friday, of course, is Spirit Day, when Firebirds dress in Firebird gear and colors.

Spirit Chain is one of the many efforts byFairmont to give back to the community. And everyone knows that when the winning school is announced at the FHS-CHS game at Roush Stadium on Sept. 28, the real winners are the charitable organizations.

But that doesn’t mean Fairmont students aren’t thinking about the satisfaction that comes with defeating Centerville. “Fairmont has a lot of pride,” said junior Jake McCarty. “I think because of that, we will dominate Centerville in Spirit Chain.”