Students counting money at "rivals" fundraising in Crestview on Friday. (DHI Media/Jim Langham)
Students counting money at "rivals" fundraising in Crestview on Friday. (DHI Media/Jim Langham)

VAN WERT – In spite of the fact that the worst of winter closed county schools three days this past week, the third annual Rivals United fundraiser between Crestview and Lincolnview high schools proved to be an overwhelming success.

The two county high schools competed for the second year in row to raise money toward the Van Wert County United Way effort. Lincolnview was the big winner last year in fundraising competition. Once again, the Lancer students captured this year’s event, raising $17,142.56 while Crestview students raised a total of $14,884.89, making a grand total of $32,027.40. With that, Lincolnview was awarded the traveling trophy in Crestview at the halftime of the Lancer-Knight basketball game this past Friday night.

This year’s event culminated at halftime of the Lincolnview at Crestview boys’ basketball game, following a collection through the bleachers in the first half of the game. The fund-raising in each school takes place in various activities, sale of T-shirts and girls’ high school game.

“This was a great effort on part of the kids in spite of the fact that actually lost three days of fundraising due to bad weather,” said Van Wert County United Way director Vicky Smith.

Smith said she was amazed at the fundraising total in spite of the weather.

“They always say that if you get a lemon, you make lemonade,” said Smith. “They missed all of that school due to the bad weather and still raised that amount of money.”

Students had various activities scheduled in their respective schools all week but had to surrender on many of the daily chores.

“The kids really worked hard. I can’t imagine what could have been raised if they were able to do all of the activities that had originally been planned,” noted Smith.

Smith said that due to the fact that there hadn’t been school on Friday, there is still money out in the schools that will be turned in early this week.

“It will be interesting to see what the total is when all of the money is finally turned in,” said Smith. “It has really been a successful campaign in spite of the weather.”

Lincolnview senior Madeline Snyder said that she has been amazed at the way students created ways to raise money in spite of the bad weather.

“It meant a lot to see the way that students were prepared in spite of the weather,” said Snyder. “From little kids to senior athletes, everybody was excited to work together with kids from other schools. “All of the kids are excited about how the money helps so many with need in the county,” said Snyder. “It draws kids together in the schools. Even though this is competitive, we also feel closer to the kids and make new friends with the kids in the other school. We are all together in this because of its great cause.”

Snyder said that kids are impressed with the way the entire community, student and adults, comes together to help.

Crestview’s Avery McCoy noted that she loves to see students from both schools come together in a competitive nature for something positive.

“It’s amazing to see how much we raise,” said McCoy. “It really shows how much people care. It’s amazing what a difference can be made with just a little effort.”

“It’s kind of crazy. We all love doing it,” said Lincolnview’s Carly Wendel. “We include all of the kids from high school to elementary. ‘Rivals United’ really unites both of our schools; because of the cause, everyone is a winner in the end."