Waynesboro High School’s senior class was the winner of this year’s Homecoming Spirit Week canned food drive.

But the real winners are the recipients of donations from the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, to which the senior and junior classes donated more than 6,000 cans this year.

The goal of the canned food drive, according to business teacher Bobbie Gilbert, “is that we can help out the community by distributing different canned food to the area food bank.”

Gilbert, who lives in Waynesboro and is also Career & Technical Education team leader at Waynesboro High, said the canned food drive is “highly competitive between my seniors and juniors” each year.

During Homecoming Spirit Week, students participate in different competitions, including the canned food drive, decorating windows and the Powder Puff game, and with each competition students earn points for their class. At the end of the week, the goal is to earn the most points and get the school’s spirit stick.

Gilbert has led students in the canned food drive at the high school for 15 out of her 24 years at the school. She said she enjoys the competition between students “for a good cause.”

This year’s drive acquired canned vegetables, soups, beans and peas, she said. Anything that is canned was eligible for the drive.

“We like giving back to the community,” Gilbert said, “and we like making that one of the competitions. It’s important to us at Waynesboro [High] and especially my CTE department.”

Waynesboro High Principal Tim Teachey said he has always been impressed with the canned food drive as part of Homecoming Spirit Week, and how the drive benefits the community.

Teachey said Waynesboro High students used to conduct a pennies drive and whoever got the most pennies was the loser. But all of the pennies were donated to charity in the end.

The students created the canned food drive also, which also creates a competitiveness among the classes, “but the kids understand there’s a greater good,” Teachey said.

“I’m always impressed with that,” he added.

When the canned food drive is complete, the students have learned about giving back to their community, but then they also learn about team work, by loading the cans and getting them to the food bank.

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