FAIRMONT - Spaced evenly around the "arena" waiting for the drum to sound, 30 Fairmont Area High School students were not preparing to battle to the death, but they were preparing for battle.
The student council staged an event Friday to close out a week of collections for the Salvation Army food shelf called "Battle Hunger Games," a play on the popular Hunger Games book series.
The event pitted students - chosen by lot - in an epic dodgeball game designed to win the victor a pizza party.
Students race for a helmet during the “Battle for Hunger Games” held Friday at Fairmont Area Schools. The event helped raise donations for the Salvation Army.
During this past week, student council members collected food donations during the lunch hour. Students and staff also were encouraged to donate at least $1 to get their name in the drawing.
Those whose names were drawn participated in dodgeball in the gym, which was decorated to resemble the arena depicted in the Hunger Games movie.
Participants were called "tributes," and were provided with balls hidden around the arena, along with "armor," if they could find it.
The entire school was invited to observe, with a deafening roar erupting when the final challenger was taken out. The winner was a representative of the fifth-hour choir class, which now gets the pizza party.
The food drive is a regular event at the school, but recent years have seen a decline in participation.
Sara Gudahl, student council adviser, said the push for donations this year was met with generosity. The school collected $1,053, as well as several boxes of food. The goal was $1,000.
"I will not take any credit for this," she said. "The student council did everything."
Gudahl told students she was nervous about setting the goal so high. No money was collected in last year's drive, and only 10 boxes of food were brought it.
Majors Dale and JoAnn Hixenbaugh of the Salvation Army were present Friday to accept the food and cash donations.