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Chaparral and Legend high schools compete in many things — sports, academics, spirit. The two 5A high schools in Parker are crosstown rivals that never shy from a chance to prove which school tops the other. And that includes the two schools' more recent back-and-forth every November to see who can donate the most food items to the Parker Task Force.
“There's a lot of good people here that have a heart for helping others,” said Andi Thompson, Chaparral's senior class president. “We work hard to get our school as involved as we can.”
Chaparral, home of the Wolverines, set the bar for donating food items in the past. Legend, home of the Titans, made it a goal to out-donate their rivals every year.
Each year, both student bodies collect canned foods, toiletries and any items listed by the Parker Task Force to donate to the charity's food market. Each student government leads the charge by boxing the items up and lugging them over to Parker Task Force, at 19105 Longs Way.
But, to Thompson, it's not about competing to see who gives more.
“Anything we can give to them is a success to us,” Thompson said.
The food items in the boxes will be given away at the Parker Task Force food market. The food market is open to those who need help getting back on their feet. Any resident of Parker, Elizabeth or Franktown can shop at the market within a given points system. Larger families get more points, which act as a sort of currency, although all the food is free. Each item differs in point value based on type of food and whether it is a branded versus a generic item.
“In Parker, especially, it can be easy to overlook issues like this,” said Libby Peter, Legend's senior class president, referring to issues of suburban poverty and hunger. “This is an issue that does exist in our community and bringing awareness to that is a really good thing that we can do.”
The Titans found the best way to collect the most items was to spark a friendly competition with Chap.
“We always try to beat (Chap) whether it's in sports or Wish Week and things like this," said Sydney Houseman, co-student body president, "making it a competition makes people want to participate more."
On Nov. 13, 24 students from the Chaparral student government carried boxes onto a pallet at the Parker Task Force — some one by one, others by the dolly — 213 boxes when all said and done, which the Parker Task Force estimates to be about 10,650 items. In addition to the wall of carboard boxes of food, Chaparral students raised $662 for the Parker Task Force.
“You don't really realize how amazing (the student body) is until you see something like this,” said Megan Arnett, Chaparral student body president. “It's a magical atmosphere where everyone is here and they're working toward one cause and it's amazing to see what we can accomplish together.”
Legend's student government expanded their reach nearby neighborhoods and partnered with its feeder elementary school, Gold Rush, to get as many people as possible in on the competition. Legend projected a donation of about 15,000 items. Legend's food drive started one week later than Chaparral and scheduled to drop off their items Nov. 20.
“At the end of the day, if Chap wants to beat Legend or Legend wants to beat Chap, it doesn't matter who beats who because the competition allows an overall larger amount of cans or fundraising,” said James Hier, Legend's other co-student body president. “I think the conflict is very unifying in a way.”
David Duran teaches math and is a junior class student government representative at Chaparral. He said it brings him hope, as a teacher, to see young people taking initiative to get involved in the community.
“When you are doing good for everybody and people want to mimic that, it's a win-win for everybody,” Duran said. “As a teacher, we want students to grow up right. It's great that they learn a little bit of math, but to be good citizens and to pay it forward, that's No. 1. What they learn in the classroom is going to be a distant second to being a good person.”
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