Winning tradition of Spirit Chain creates pressure to continue the streak


Photo: Edona Banulla

Last year’s USB students and Student Council members come together to celebrate their win against Centerville prior to kick off.

By Kaylee Anstaett, Fairmont Life Editor

Every year in the fall, Fairmont student council members are busy asking students, staff and citizens of the Kettering community to donate money to Spirit Chain.

Spirit Chain has been a tradition throughout the Kettering and Centerville communities for 34 years and has one common goal: raising money for charities while also maintaining the cross-town rivalry between the Birds and the Elks.

Fairmont’s United Student Body (USB) and lead teams get together over the summer and listen to a variety of charities present about their mission. The charities talk about why they would be a good fit as one of the Spirit Chain charities for the upcoming school year.

The 2018 Spirit Chain charities are the following: 

Kettering Backpack Program: The Kettering Backpack Program provides at-risk Kettering students with a bag of food each Friday throughout the school year.

Because of God’s Grace (BOGG): BOGG Ministries is a non-profit organization that was started to help provide people in the greater Dayton area with food, clothing and other life essentials.

We Care Arts: We Care Arts provides art therapy for physically, mentally and emotionally handicapped individuals to enhance self-esteem and learn job skills.

This year, student council and USB are trying to raise $100,000. In years past, Fairmont has been close to reaching this goal, but they have only managed to make upward of $95,000 … which is still a pretty hefty donation. 

Senior USB president Emma Kane has been working tirelessly to do everything she can to raise as much money as possible.

“I’m not sure how close we are to reaching our goal, but we are definitely trying our best,” Kane said. “The whole student council and student body is really pushing for us to reach $100,000  so we’ll see.”

Fairmont certainly loves to beat Centerville, but it’s not always about winning, rather it’s about Fairmont students creating a passion to help those in their community.

“At the end of the day, it’s not about breaking $100,000, it’s about giving back to the community,” Kane said.

The unique part to this year’s charities is that they are all located in Kettering, whereas in years past, they were located all throughout the Dayton area.

“It feels great having all of the charities in Kettering because we know it’s going back to our community,” Kane said. “It’s a great way not only for the receiving end, but for everyone at Fairmont to get excited and become involved in the community,” Kane said.

USB started a lot of new events this year. They had a grandparents breakfast for six of the eight elementary schools on a Saturday in September. There’s been a basketball tournament for the students. Another event that was created was a movie night in the Trent Arena. The tradition of the annual Powderpuff Game had a revival this year as well.

“There’s a lot of effort from all ends and I know that USB and I are very appreciative of the hard work and dedication that student council and our school is putting into it,” Kane said.

The rivalry between Kettering and Centerville as neighboring cities is pretty special here since Fairmont has been beating Centerville in Spirit Chain for many years.

“It’s about tradition. It’s wonderful to beat Centerville, but I’m not so worried about breaking $100,000 or beating them really well. I’m just glad to give it back to charity,” Kane said.

Fairmont Activities Coordinator Corey Miller is in charge of spirit chain, as well as many other events at Fairmont.

“This is my most stressful time of year because homecoming is also my duty. We have homecoming, Spirit Chain back-to-back and this year, the Spirit Chain game is on the 19th, that next week is the blood drive and then we go into food drive and giving tree,” Miller said.

Miller doesn’t know the totals until the Wednesday before the Centerville game when the final amounts come in. She thinks that the goal of reaching $100,000 is realistic because Fairmont has been close to that goal in years past.

“We had a year that was $95,000 and then another year that was $93,000. So we’ve been up there before. One year, one of the charities was Honor Flight and we had some people that were really passionate about that organization so that’s why the total was so high,” Miller said.

USB and student council have had a lot more events earlier, compared to last year when a lot of the events were in the week leading up to the Centerville game.

“USB sets up at a few events such as being at the We Care Arts food truck rally, they also went to a car show hosted by the Backpack Program,” Miller said.  “They’ve done a really good job connecting to the charities and talking to the charities about what they’re already doing that USB could go to.”

Spirit week can be a load of stress for Miller and her students, as they add up final totals and prepare for the big reveal at the Centerville game.

“USB is more stressed during spirit week because I start to get a feel for where we are, but they have no idea. Me, Mrs. Crumley (school treasurer), and Mrs. Rogers (activities office assistant)  leading into Friday are the only ones that know,” Miller said.

Before Friday night lights kicks off against Centerville, Miller holds the news that everyone in the community has been waiting for. 

“On Friday of the game, I make a phone call in the back office to the Centerville guy who’s in charge and we exchange totals. At four or five o’clock, we both know what we’re going into. Centerville tells their students ahead of time but we do not,” Miller said.