It wasn’t Halloween, but that didn’t stop Jamestown High School students from coming to school in full costume.
On Thursday, JHS celebrated its annual Battle of the Classes in the McElrath gymnasium, featuring the athletic and dancing talents of its students.
The battle is a JHS tradition that pits each class against each other to compete in events such as tug-of-war, relay races, volleyball events, an art contest and a dance competition.
Despite the festive and competitive atmosphere, the Battle of the Classes is only the culmination of a month-long fundraising effort, in which the school donates its earnings to a local organization.
According to Tony Dolce, student organization adviser, the success of the fundraiser has led these organizations to approach the school.
“Each year, the kids will actually come up with the idea, and they solicit the ideas throughout the community,” said Dolce. “It’s gotten to the point now where many organizations actually come to us and ask us (for a donation).”
Dolce said that, in its 34-year lifespan, the Battle of the Classes has raised approximately $250,000 -which has been placed back into the community. The 2012-13 battle was a record-breaking year, in which students raised a total of $12,500.50. According to Dolce, the money was raised through a variety of means.
“The classes raise all the money,” he said. “And they hold everything from spaghetti dinners to pancake breakfasts to all sorts of other fundraisers. They had a talent show, T-shirt sales, can drives and tag days.”
The funds raised for this year’s battle were donated to the Chautauqua County Child Advocacy program. Receiving the $12,500.50 check on behalf of CAP were Cindy DiNapoli, a member of CAP’s board of directors, and Jana McDermott, executive director of CAP.
“I was (crying) tears of joy today, because I knew it was going to be something special,” said McDermott, referring to the check amount. “And all day, I’ve just felt great. It’s just infectious, the spirit that’s here and the positivity that you see here, the commitment and the passion. It’s just such a healthy outlet for all their energy and all the enthusiasm the kids have. I’m just really excited to be here, it made my week.”
According to its website, the goal of CAP is to end child abuse in Chautauqua County. McDermott said that the funding CAP received from the battle will be used for providing counseling to abused children, and training adults on how to prevent, recognize and respond to the sexual abuse of children.
Every year, the Battle of the Classes is held at the end of the week preceding spring break – which adds to the enthusiastic atmosphere.
“It’s just become a great tradition,” said Dolce. The kids look forward to it each year. They love it, they enjoy it and it’s great for school spirit. I think it’s outstanding because they really enjoy going out and raising this money, and it teaches them to give back to a community that gives so much to them. Hopefully they can carry that through the rest of their lives.”
The battle concluded with the junior class taking first place in the overall competition. The senior class came in second, followed by the sophomores and the freshmen.