Franklin County High School students and faculty members present a check in the amount of $1,200 to students at Staunton River High School to be used for memorials to three students who were killed in automobile accidents last year. From left are Spirts Club sponsor Marsha Lopez, FCHS students Whitney McKinney, Gage Hubbard and Molly Cummings, Staunton River High School’s senior and junior class presidents, FCHS students Hannah Berry and Matt Cobbs, and Brian McClung, sponsor of FCHS YOVASO chapter.
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
By STEVEN MARSH - Staff Writer
Franklin County and Staunton River high schools are rivals on many athletic fields and in other extra-curricular endeavors.
Recently, the Eagles and the Golden Eagles put that rivalry on hold for a greater good.
Members of FCHS's Spirit Club organized and conducted a fundraising drive to honor a group of Stuanton River students who had lost their lives in area traffic accidents.
Three students were killed in car wrecks at the school during the fall of last year, and two others from nearby Liberty High School in Bedford died in October automobile accidents.
The effort to aid Staunton River High School and its students became known as the Eagles to Golden Eagles Project, said faculty member Marsha Lopez, chairman of FCHS's business department and the Eagles head cheerleading coach, who is the Spirit Club's sponsor.
Lopez said senior Hannah Berry spearheaded the project. The goal was to solicit donations for the creation of a memorial to the students at Staunton River, which is in Moneta.
Students Jacob Henry Baird, 17, and Katie Ann Thurston, 16, died in a wreck en route to school on Nov. 14, and two other students were injured in that accident. Five days later, a single-car accident claimed the life of 17-year-old Ashley Brooke Barton. The crashes occured along Virginia 24, a stretch of highway that covers Bedford and Roanoke counties.
Berry was in charge of making gold ribbons to sell to FCHS students, faculty and staff, Lopez said. These ribbons were sold during lunch periods and $1,200 was raised.
"All of this was made possible due to the amazing generosity, compassion and love of the people of FCHS,' Lopez said.
Individual clubs and groups, such as TV Production, YOVASO (Youth of Virginia Speak Out), SCA, HOSA, FCCLA, The Eagle Newspaper, International Club and AFJROTC, also made contributions, Lopez said.
The project culminated last month when Berry and FCHS students Whitney McKinney, Matt Cobbs, Gage Hubbard, Molly Cummings, Ayron Walker and Taylor Miles, along with Lopez and YOVASO sponsor Brian McClung, traveled to Stuanton River to meet with its principal and the presidents of its senior and junior classes.
Along with a check for the monies raised, additonal gold ribbons, numerous cards and posters made by FCHS students, and a picture made in Samuel M. Hawkins Central Gymnasium with students wearing the gold and black colors of Staunton River were presented, Lopez said.
Stuanton River Principal Michelle Morgan said the school plans to use the money for a memorial to the students who were killed and also to create a special scholarship fund in their honor.