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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
540-483-5113
Fax: 540-483-8013

Bottle caps adding equipment at high school
FCHS is redeeming points through Coke Rewards program
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Staff Photo by Stephanie Cook: Coach Jamie Wright and athletic director Sandy Coblentz stand behind a collection of bottle caps that FCHS students have been collecting.

Monday, December 23, 2013

By STEPHANIE COOK - Staff Writer

Anyone looking for a way to support Franklin County High School may want to look in the trash can.

For the past two years, the high school has been participating in the "My Coke Rewards" program, which allows individuals to redeem codes found on Coke products for school equipment.

"A lot of people throw away the codes, not realizing that they can benefit our local schools," said Jamie Wright, assistant boys basketball coach.

Wright first learned of the program two years ago when he was speaking to a friend about funding cuts the school was facing.

"She told me about how the Coke Rewards program allows you to donate your points to schools," said Wright. "Together with the athletic department's Sandy Coblentz, I was able to get the ball rolling, and what started out as a few of my kids bringing in caps has grown into something much larger, with people all across the community making donations."

The codes are found on Coca-Cola products, usually in bottle caps or inside the packaging of multi-packs. Bottles of Minute-Maid, Powerade and Dasani waters are also part of the Coke family and contain codes as well. The codes can be worth five to 20 points and are redeemable online.

"You can either enter the codes online yourself and donate to the school, or you can drop off caps and labels with codes at the central gym of the high school, Rocky Mount Kroger or Trendz Hair Salon," said Wright. "Sandy and other volunteers here will enter the codes themselves."

Through the program, FCHS has been able to obtain basketballs, soccer balls, footballs, scooters, an indoor hockey set, a graphing calculator, all at no cost to the school.

"Initially, we were just using the points to get P.E. equipment and equipment for the special needs class," said Wright, "but as the program grew, we wanted to pay it forward to the rest of the school that was working so hard to collect caps and codes."

In the past two years, the program has raised over 250,000 points. Last year, FCHS donated 80,000 points worth of equipment to Plaza Towers Elementary School in Oklahoma after the school was leveled by a tornado.

"They had no school building, but they told us that if they had equipment with which to teach that they would hold school in basements if they had to," Coblenz said. "So we sent them most of what we had been blessed with last year."

FCHS has a wish list on the Coke Rewards website, and as the points accumulate, the school will purchase with points things off the list. This year the school purchased a flag football set for the powderpuff game, which is held each year.

"In the past, we always had to borrow the flags," said Senior Class Advisor Allyson Lynch. "It was frustrating because we would only have them at the last minute, and there would be no time to practice. We were so thankful that they thought of us."

The school also made cap collection a part of class competition, an annual tradition where each class participates in spirit activities in order to win a pizza party. So far, the freshman class is dominating the cap collection.

Area businesses have also been collecting caps and passing them along to Wright.

Teacher Angela Oliver said her special needs classes have benefited from the program.

"We all have a stipend each year to spend on our classes, but this helps us go above and beyond the minimum for our kids and it costs us nothing," she said. "I am so proud to be a part of a community that cares about each other and pulls together for a cause."

Codes must be entered and redeemed by May 1 of each year, and then the caps/labels have to be kept for three months for verification purposes.

After that, the school donates the caps to the Odyssey of the Mind program, which recycles the caps by using them in some of their projects.

"It truly is a team effort," said Coblentz. "I feel so blessed when these kids come in every day with a smile and a handful of caps."

 
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