East and West compete for Coins For Cubs fundraiser

Feb. 7, 2011 at 10:03 p.m.
Updated Feb. 6, 2011 at 8:07 p.m.

The growing rivalry between Victoria East and West High Schools is being used for a good cause.

The schools have teamed up with the Texas Zoo to raise money for Coins for Cubs, a fundraiser aimed at collecting money to go toward expanding the zoo's lion cubs' exhibit.

The fundraiser started at the East vs. West basketball game two weeks ago.

It is scheduled to end at the schools' basketball game Tuesday.

"I thought it would be a fun opportunity for them to give back to their community," said Andrea Blomberg, executive director of the zoo. "It's not just our zoo. It's everybody who lives in the community's zoo."

Aesa and Gaia, who turned one year old in January, came to the Texas Zoo in March 2010.

Blomberg said the zoo needs at least $20,000 to begin expanding the growing cubs' exhibit in mid-2011.

"Every little bit helps," Blomberg said.

Both schools worked to raise money in their own way whether it was placing a jar at the school's spirit store or soliciting students for spare change during class or lunchtime.

Students were awarded a free zoo pass for their donations.

The school that raises the most money will have their name printed on a plaque that will be placed on the renovated exhibit.

"The students knew it was for the lion cubs," said Angie Ardner, business education teacher at Victoria East High School. "That's what motivated the kids."

In addition to being a good cause, Victoria West High School business/career prep teacher Blanche Ruelas said she saw the fundraiser as a good academic opportunity for her students.

"We were excited to help them out," said Ruelas, whose students were in charge of fundraiser collections at their school. "It helps them with counting money and sorting change."

Her students were equally excited about the fun lesson.

"We thought it would be a good idea to take on this project because we're all really focused people, and we are good at fundraising," said 17-year-old Tylar Walyuchow, a senior and student council president at Victoria West High School. "The friendly rivalry between us and our crosstown rival made students even more motivated to donate."

As of last week, Ruelas said her students had collected around $500.

Meanwhile, at last count, Ardner said her students had collected $95.

Although the rivalry sparked a fun competition between the two schools, participants made it clear that they were just happy to help out the cubs.

"We want to win, not just because of the rivalry, but because we want to raise money to go toward the animals and help them have a good home," said Walyuchow.

"Although we are competing with each other, I think it's neat to join together for a good cause," said Ruelas.



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