Fairmont and Centerville have one of the fiercest rivalries in the Greater Western Ohio Conference, but off the field they come together to raise money for charities that need it most. Some people’s misconception of Spirit Chain is that it is merely something to hype-up students before the big game on Oct. 2. But in reality, Spirit Chain unites two schools to help programs in the communities.
For 31 years, Spirit Chain has raised money for a plethora of charities. This year, Fairmont tries to continue its eight-year winning streak with the help of thousands of participants. But win or lose, Fairmont Athletic Director Chris Weaver says the real beauty of Spirit Chain is helping others.
“To me, Spirit Chain is knowing what it means to give back and knowing life lessons that you are trying to teach your young kids,” he said. “As a father, I’d love for my son or daughter to be involved and help raise funds for these charities.”
Fairmont has been very successful at not letting those who are less fortunate go without, especially around the holidays.
“It’s during Thanksgiving and during Christmas time, it’s buying presents for those who have none,” he said.
Fairmont’s Spirit Chain earns money in several ways; a grill-out, selling t-shirts and gear, a food truck rally at Town and Country, as well as the school’s annual car bash, Spirit Carnival, and Powderpuff football game.
“It’s really rewarding because it’s what we are doing and what we have done with Spirit Chain, to see something greater than yourself, and to be able to be proud about that and excited about that,” Weaver said.
If Fairmont wins this year, another accomplishment would be added to the long list. However, both the home and away stands at Centerville High School will be proud.
“That’s why I think you see the standing ovations on both sides when you present those checks. It’s a great sense of accomplishment,” said Weaver.
However, choosing these certain charities isn’t just a random selection process.
“Class council has days where they have charities present why they would be a good charity to receive,” said Fairmont’s Student Council Leader and Activities Director, Corey Miller. “It’s not just raising the money and writing a check. It’s forming a connection with these charities.”
This year, Class Council chose four charities: Kettering Clean Care, Kettering Backpack Program, Kettering Veterans & Inventor Campaign, and Be Free Dayton.
The accomplishments of both schools will be revealed during the Fairmont vs. Centerville varsity football game on Oct. 2, at 7 p.m. at Centerville High School. Along with the thousands of dollars donated, the football game also carries significant meaning to both communities.
“The last three years we may have beaten them in Spirit Chain but we’ve not ended the game on the best note,” Weaver said.
Spirit Chain encompasses both schools and communities off of the turf, but also plays a huge role on the field.
“It really strengthens a lot of the season,” said Fairmont’s Head Football Coach Andrew Aracri. “It’s extremely important to embrace each other and support everyone on our team.”
He thinks spirit is something you have to work on, and build.
“It’s our 94th year. Why put in all the tears, sweat, and bruises in practice if you aren’t going to show it in the game?” Aracri said. “Friday night is the pay off.”