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Cashing in on March Madness

Heather Petry Hurricane High School
Spare cash, not sports, is the focus of Hurricane High School's two-week "March Madness" charity drive. Bright signs adorn the halls, noting which cause students in each grade level support.
By Kristyn ConleyHurricane High SchoolCHARLESTON, W.Va. -- So many people in the world need help. Some may be right next door, while others may be overseas. There are many ways to give back to those in need, and Hurricane High School has found a fun way to do just that. "March Madness," a two-week charity drive, started March 18 as an engaging way for the school to give back to the community. Each grade level was given a charity or cause to donate money to. Freshmen raised money for the National Down Syndrome Society, sophomores for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, juniors for Ronald McDonald House and seniors for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.The winning grade level gets double its normal lunchtime for a day. Everyone else has to go to class. Sounds inviting, huh?The school also had other ways to raise money and get the students involved. Dress-up days were held March 27-29: Water Park Wednesday, Recycle Day on Thursday and College Pride Day on Friday.Each student who dressed up each day was counted and a dollar added to the grade's charity. It became a competitive business.On Recycle Day, students wore trash bags over their clothes and newspaper hats to promote the "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" slogan. On Water Park Wednesday, they put on swim trunks and bathing suits over their normal clothes, along with stylish floaties. On College Pride Day, they dressed up in outfits supporting their favorite colleges. During lunch, students also participated in relays in the gym.
At the end of the two weeks, there was a grand finale of sorts. On Friday, classes were shortened to make room for the last events.The first of those was the annual Hurricane Heart Walk, headed by Coach Perry Estep. It attracted many students, who all made at least a $10 donation towards the American Heart Association.At the end of the day, the students and faculty faced off in a basketball game. There was a good effort by everyone, but the STUDENTS/FACULTY emerged victorious.Hurricane's "March Madness" was filled with fun, creativity and humble donations to awesome charities. Students were mixed on the idea of it, though.Senior Emmalee Ellison said, "Well, it's for a good cause, but the way I see it is that it's just another homecoming week -- you know, with the dressing up and games. I don't mind it, but maybe it should be more original."Meanwhile, junior Kari Barton said, "It's a good idea to raise money for charities, and why not have a spirit week in spring? Double the fun for one year!"
At the end of the day, the students and faculty faced off in a basketballgame. The faculty won, beating the students 23-19.In the end, "March Madness" raised nearly $8,000 for charity, including $1,700 from the heart walk and the grade level totals. The freshman won with $1,700 raised, followed by the sophomores with $923, the seniors with $700 and the juniors with $666.
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