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Greenville, N.C. — On Wednesday night, Greenville’s D.H. Conley High School and J.H. Rose High School faced off in a rivalry soccer match that meant more than just a conference battle.
In place of standard ticket prices, Conley’s gate accepted all kinds of donated items in exchange for admission to the game. Both fan bases were allowed to participate.
The items are to be donated to New Bern High School, one of the most severely affected schools and larger communities by Hurricane Florence.
Among the items that were accepted were cleaning supplies, trash bags, school supplies, bottled water and toiletries. Contributors were asked to bring four of each item for the drive.
Each donation is set to be delivered to New Bern on Thursday by the Conley varsity and junior varsity football teams. The athletes are making the trip to assist those affected in place of a regularly-scheduled after school practice. The project the Vikings will tackle? Revitalizing a Florence-damaged park.
D.H. Conley’s athletic director Rob Maloney was responsible for ushering the idea into existence.
“It’s a good way for our school, our athletic department, and our athletes here to be able to give to another member school,” Maloney told HighSchoolOT.com.
When asked about how high school athletics can positively affect society in times of crisis, Maloney told us that “this is where I think you find out the difference in really good coaches and coaches who just win when they have talent. And were talking life lessons.”
“This is something that both the students at Greenville Rose High School and D.H. Conley have been through in the past with hurricanes here,” he continued. “The last couple of years there have been times when we had it a little bit more severe than New Bern or Craven County did, so it’s our turn to reach out and help these folks… Even though we’re competitors on the field or on the court, we’re all this together.”
Indeed, those life lessons the athletic director spoke of can go a long way in one’s time beyond high school.
“Our coaching staff here at Conley, our hope and dream is that these kids will carry it on once they’re adults and they have families and they have families, they can reach out and help each other.”