RUMFORD — A hard-fought battle between Mountain Valley High School and Spruce Mountain High School resulted in the Rumford school gathering the most amount of food for the WGME School Spirit Challenge.

Eight high schools participated in the challenge.

MVHS Principal Matt Gilbert, a 1991 graduate of the former JHS, and T.J. Plourde, a 1994 graduate of the same school, and students from both high schools worked over the past month to gather food and money for the Good Shepherd Food-Bank in Auburn.

The two high schools, headed by principals who themselves graduated from the former Jay High School, set a side challenge during the Spirit Challenge. 

The two principals agreed that whichever school won would get to hang its school banner in the other’s gymnasium. Gilbert said he thought the event would take place during the first two weeks of the basketball season in early December.

Sally Boivin, administrative assistant at SMHS, said the school, with the help of other schools in the RSU 73 district as well as many businesses, gathered $11,732.42 in funds and 10,000 pounds of food.

Gilbert said MVHS gathered $14,791.20 in funds and 19,410 pounds of food.

One dollar equals five pounds of food.

Gilbert said Spirit Challenge coordinator Brenda Cayer led a big push last week to bring in more contributions.

“She made connections with more than 80 businesses,” Gilbert said.

Boivin said her school also made a special effort during the past week.

The competition ended on Oct. 31, and the food and money gathered by both schools were picked up on Friday by the Auburn food bank.

“It’s been great,” Boivin said. “The kids have been very much involved. It’s a win-win competition.”

Gilbert said the amount of money and food raised was well above what was expected.

Several students and administrators will meet with WGME personnel on Friday, Boivin said.

The top three or four high schools who participated will receive Spirit Challenge certificates from the television station, Gilbert said.

Last year’s Spirit Challenge winner was Wiscasset High School, which raised the equivalent of 56,000 pounds of food.


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