Rivalries have been around for years and many times the rivalries brings out the not so good in people. Folks get so caught up in the rivalry they have a tendency to be more negative than positive, but that has been changed recently with the Garrettsville–Windham Rivalry.
Last fall when Mike Chaffee took over as the principal of Windham Schools, he wanted to revive the rivalry that had somewhat died down over the years with Garrettsville. Chaffe wanted to turn what often becomes a week of pranks and sometimes vandalism into a week of positive, healthy competition for a good cause. He thought: after all, we already have one good cause that both schools are involved with, the Volley for the Cure. The annual Windham-Garrettsville volleyball game has always been Volley for the Cure, a fundraiser for breast cancer, so why not expand it to other causes for other head-to-head competitions.
Chaffe had several ideas and contacted Joe Malmisur, principal of neighboring James A. Garfield High School, to see if he would be on board with the idea, Malmisur agreed that the kids needed to have their energies channeled into a positive challenge rather than a negative one, thus creating “Rivals for a Cause.”
The “Rivals for a Cause” was launched the week of the Garfield- Windham basketball game held at Windham on February 4, 2011. The schools each had planned a food drive, t-shirt sales to benefit St. Jude Children’s Hospital and the head-to-head basketball competition for a chance to keep the revolving trophy that was established for the entire 2011-2012 school year.
The hospital benefit suggestion came from Danielle Hickman who had recently toured the hospital when she represented Windham at the Liberty Bowl over the Christmas holiday. The hospital tour inspired her to consider raising funds for the facility. Both principals agreed it would be a good cause. Both schools’ student councils were challenged to raise funds by selling t-shirts, with the proceeds going to the hospital. Each school sold different colored t-shirts; Windham sold white shirts while Garrettsville sold gray shirts to raise funds for the hospital.
The rivalry week came and the t-shirts were ordered, but due to two snow days that week, the sales week was limited to two days. In spite of the shortened week, the schools were still able to raise a combined total of $1,500 for the hospital.
The yet-to-be-named revolving trophy will be awarded at the end of the school year to the school which has won the most varsity head-to-head sporting events this school year. The winning school will have the trophy to display until the end of the next school year. They will hold the bragging rights for the year as well.
The schools also plan on holding a name-the-trophy contest later this year. Each school will submit name ideas and the principals of each school will choose the top 5 or 6 entries from each school. They will then give the mayors of the two towns the job of deciding the winning name for the trophy.
The food drive seemed to be a fantastic way to serve the community and still rival one another, however the two snow days that week severely limited the collections at both schools and they have decided to postpone the drive to the week of the Garrettsville-Windham baseball games.