Kentwood High students pile on the food for Munch Madness | Slide Show
By KRIS HILL
Covington Reporter Assisitant Editor
November 13, 2010 · Updated 9:59 AM
College basketball season is just starting but students at Kentwood High already have a serious case of bracket fever.
This is thanks not to hoops hysteria but the March playoff inspired Munch Madness food drive led by the ASB (Associated Student Body) and Leadership class which pits classes against one another with a goal to raise 30,000 by Dec. 4.
Prior to weighing and counting food the morning of Nov. 12, Kentwood students had already brought close to 5,000 pounds of food to school, and as a steady stream of teens brought food to a storage room near the gym it was clear the total was going to grow significantly by the end of third period on Friday.
Several classes brought in well over 200 pounds each on Friday which impressed the leadership students who were weighing, tallying and organizing the food.
This food drive began in 2008 when former ASB president Kevin Massimino, who is now a student at Washington State University, brought the idea back from leadership camp where he learned about the concept from a teen from another school who had successfully launched it there.
Eliana Spero described Massimino as bracket obsessed and it only made sense to set up a similar drive at Kentwood, which has more than 2,000 students in ninth through 12th grade drawing from Kent and Covington.
"The first two years were really, really big," Spero said. "It's a way to bring food, but, it's not just a normal food drive. It's competitive and the classes really get into it."
In 2009, Kentwood students raised more than 28,000 pounds of food during Munch Madness, with the donations going to the Kent and Covington food banks.
Spero explained this food drive really helps raise awareness about how much people can help.
"Getting 30,000 pounds from just a high school is really eye opening," Spero said.
Senior Kailey Ulland, who is also a member of the leadership class, said that initially it took some effort to get the freshmen to understand how important Munch Madness but otherwise the school has embraced it.
"Depending on which teacher you asked, but, they were getting really pumped," Ulland said. "People have definitely been excited."
Ulland points out that while there isn't any kind of a gambling aspect to it, members of the ASB have gotten into by filling out brackets much like basketball fans fill out brackets before the start of the NCAA tournament in the spring, predicting which classes will win and how far they'll go.
"Even without a competition, since we have so many students that are a part of this community... and we need to take care of all of our members of our community," Ulland said.
The hope, Ulland added, is that Munch Madness will show that while Kentwood is a power in 4A sports — in 2010 alone the Conquerors won boys basketball and baseball titles while the football team is currently undefeated — there is much more to the school.
"We want to show overall excellence, not just athletically," Ulland said.
Both Spero and Ulland wanted to emphasize the fact that those who do not have direct ties to Kentwood are welcome to participate and anyone who wishes to can drop off donations at the high school before Munch Madness ends Dec. 4.
"We welcome community members that want to get involved," Ulland said.Contact Covington Reporter Assisitant Editor Kris Hill at email@example.com or (425) 432-1209, ext. 5054.