Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

November 16, 2013

On fire for charity

Wurtland hosts ‘Hunger Games’-themed event

Kenneth Hart
The Independent

WURTLAND — In “The Hunger Games” book triology, the last thing teens want is to hear their names called at The Reaping because it means they’ve been chosen to participate in an event in which the participants must fight to the death in an outdoor arena.

But, at Wurtland Middle School’s version of The Reaping, Jolie Powell and Justin Strimble both were pleasantly surprised when their names were announced.

That’s because it meant they’d won a drawing to portray the main characters from “The Hunger Games” — Katkniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark — at special screening next week of the second film in the series, “Catching Fire.”

Friday’s event closed out a two-week “Hunger Games”-based charity drive at the school. The program focused on the basic human needs of food, clothing and shelter. Students earned tickets for the drawing by contributing food, clothing and shelter. Tickets also were awarded based on attendance and behavior.

The food and clothing contributions will be divided between the school’s youth services center and Helping Hands of Greenup, while the monetary contributions, which totaled $234.57, will go to the Greenup County Habitat for Humanity chapter, said Becky Spencer, a retired teacher who coordinates the federally funded GEAR UP Kentucky program at WMS.

Powell and Strimble will represent the school next week at the school premier of “Catching Fire” at KYOVA Theater. Schools from around the region will be attending, and each has been assigned a district number, to correspond with the 12 districts in the books, and will be selecting their participants, which are known in the books as “tributes.” WMS will represent District 12, Spencer said.

As WMS’ tributes, Powell — daughter of the school’s principal, Amanda Powell — and Strimble will have their pictures displayed at the theater during the screening. They’ll also receive gift certificates for Callihan’s American Pub & Grill.

Both students said they were more surprised than anything when their tickets were drawn. Both also said they were big “Hunger Games” fans and were excited about seeing the new movie next week.

There were no additional drawings Friday for prizes such as gift cards, pins and copies of “Mockingjay,” the third book in the “Hunger Games” series.

According to Powell, the school’s principal, the school’s sixth-grade class generated the largest number of contributions, and, as a reward, will get to have “free seating” at lunch on Monday, meaning the students will be able to sit wherever they want.

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2654.