Erskine Academy was among seven Maine high schools to participate in WGME 13/Fox 23’s School Spirit Challenge to benefit Good Shepherd Food Bank of Maine and area food pantries, according to a news release from the academy.

The School Spirit Challenge is a friendly competition among high schools to show school pride and spirit while helping communities address a shared, pressing problem — hunger in Maine — through an eight-week-long food and fund drive.

In addition to a School Spirit Challenge kick-off rally and appeals to the community, a “Fill the Bus” bottle drive was initiated, prompting many donations that yielded more than $1,000. The Spirit Challenge committee came up with other creative ideas to raise money as well, including a school-wide dodge ball tournament, virtual food drive campaign, and raffles.

The challenge culminated with the Headmaster Michael McQuarrie, Student Council Advisor Mary MacFarland, and the four class presidents visiting the WGME 13 studio in Portland on Nov. 4, where they were presented with the winning trophy for collecting the most pounds of food — 84,474 — the equivalent of 70,395 meals, exceeding by several thousand pounds the amount raised by the second- and third-place schools combined.

“The School Spirit Challenge was for a great cause and through it, our community engaged in collective creative problem-solving: we put a significant dent in the problem of hunger in Maine. Through this important initiative, we put Erskine’s values for stewardship, leadership, and relationships to work in a substantial way. I am overwhelmed by our result, and proud of the work, inspiration, and idealism of our young people,” McQuarrie said, according to the release.

Erskine Academy appreciates the help from the many individuals, including alumni from across the country, businesses, and organizations for their generosity and good will that supported the School Spirit Challenge with donations of food and money so that many Maine people will receive much needed food.

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