‘Games’ raises $3,000

FAIRMONT – Just as the second installment of the “Hunger Games” series hits movie theaters this weekend, Fairmont High School held its second “Hunger Games” food drive, raising more than $3,000 to be donated to the Salvation Army.

“I’m just so excited and so thrilled,” said student council adviser Sara Gudahl. “I really wasn’t sure how it was going to do.”

Based on the popular “Hunger Games” book trilogy and movies, students from grades 7-12 raised money, with every dollar raised equaling a chance for their name to be drawn as a “tribute” for the Hunger Games dodgeball tournament held Friday.

“We had one family that donated in $500 for a girl tribute and $500 for a boy tribute, so that meant both those students put their names in 500 times. But they also donated some of those slips to their friends,” said Kelli Olson, a psychologist at Fairmont High School who helped organize the event.

The “tributes” for the games were selected last week.

“Because it’s the second one, we had double the number of tributes this year, so two boys and two girls from each class,” Olson said.

But this week’s fundraising brought rewards to selected grades.

“Based on how much money they raised, they receive some things going in,” Olson said. “For example, $100 raised equals one ball, $200 is a bag of tools. Some classes raised enough they were able to bring in additional tributes for their class, and two classes even raised enough to bring in a teacher for help.”

For the games, all tributes were brought in blindfolded to the darkened gym and spaced out around the “arena” before the drum sounded to do battle.

“We made some changes from last year. Last year’s winner hid in the corner over there,” said Olson, gesturing to a corner by the bleachers, where a mannequin and blockade stood. “She hid there until there was only one person left who thought he was the winner, and she tagged him out. Everyone loved it, but we don’t want anyone hiding this year. We don’t want everyone rushing to the corner.”

The Hunger Games battle this year came down to eighth-grader Alli Lardy and junior Shantel Quist, with Lardy winning for her class.

The $3,051 is well in excess of the $1,053 raised during the first Hunger Games food drive last year. The food drive had been an annual staple at Fairmont High, but had dwindled in participation until the Hunger Games angle was used last year.