By Lauren Cabral
The Cove Herald
Members of the Copperas Cove High School DECA chapter used competition to inspire their classmates to give back to their community in two United Way fund raisers recently.
The tactic produced stellar results not only for the students, but Central Texas as well.
"We made it a competition to have more involvement from the classes," said Lina Perez, DECA Historian and senior at CCHS.
And it worked, according to Charlotte Heinze, DECA advisor.
"We made significantly more than we did last year," she said.
The Clash of the Classes, as one United Way fundraiser was dubbed, pitted the senior, junior, sophomore and freshman classes against each other, and the class donating the most to the organization was promised a sweet reward.
The seniors won the competition, collecting $604.39 for United Way. They were rewarded for their generosity with a concert put on by internationally recognized country recording artist Pat Waters and the Chainlink Band in Lea Ledger Auditorium on Feb. 16.
"The seniors worked hard to earn this concert," said Heinze. "In addition to a great concert, Pat Waters spoke to the kids about the dangers of drugs … It was a very powerful message."
She said athletic director Jack Welch set up the event.
The classes raised $1,942.62 for the charity. The sophomore class was a close second and raised $602.04. Freshmen were third with $574.04 and juniors followed with $119.96.
The second drive put on by DECA was a canned-food drive that resulted in 3,028 pounds of nonperishable food items being collected.
Freshmen donated the most and enjoyed an ice cream social Tuesday for their hard work.
Perez said both drives will benefit local businesses and organizations, including Cove House Emergency Homeless Shelter, Benevolence House and My Brother's House.
"It gives our students an appreciation of giving back to the community," she said.
CCHS Senior and DECA President Caleb Tuiasosopo said he enjoyed seeing his peers excited to give back.
"It's cool to see students involved helping the community and United Way," he said.
DECA is an international association designed to advance students' careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management.
Other projects spearheaded by the CCHS chapter to benefit United Way include a Library Book Drive, a sausage wrap sale, encouraging teachers to donate from their paychecks and donating money to wear jeans to work.
The group also sponsored a family at Christmas through the organization's Adopt-A-Family program.
John Horton, DECA treasurer and CCHS senior, said projects like these and the competitions the group attends are why he joined the group.
In fact, the group left for a state competition in Fort Worth on Thursday, and will compete until Saturday.
"I like to compete and I like going out and trying new things, as well as giving back to the community," he said.
Contact Lauren Cabral at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7476.