Rivermont Collegiate Celebrates First-Place Finish at Student Hunger Driver Kick-Off Party (QC Times)

Food Drive 1

Davenport North High School freshman Tia McLemore couldn’t help but recall the days when her family struggled to keep food in their home as she and her classmates prepared for their performance at the 29th annual Quad-Cities Student Hunger Drive Monday night.

“Suddenly, there was nothing in the fridge,” McLemore said. “It affects your school and your home life, but there’s nothing to do except to try and stay positive.”

McLemore and her classmates joined hundreds of other Quad-City students from 17 schools in Illinois and Iowa at the new River Bend Foodbank facility in Davenport to promote feeding the hungry, while showing off school pride during a friendly talent show.

Students improvised, sang, danced and even juggled in efforts to win 2,000 pounds of canned goods to kick off the hunger drive that ends Nov. 6.

“It really broadens their concept of who lives in the community and breaks down their assumptions,” Ray Knight, a Bettendorf High School teacher and student council adviser, said. “The social economic structure they run with is a lot narrower than the entire Quad-City community.”

Many schools produced their own rendition of modern top-40 songs while incorporating food and hunger into their performances.

Students from Orion High School chanted “we’re bringing meals back” during their remix of Meghan Trainor’s recent hit, “All About That Bass,” while students from Davenport North portrayed a scene from "Hunger Games."

Sporting multi-colored makeup and a full costume, Katie Savely, senior at Davenport North, emulated Effie Trinket from Hunger Games as she announced the start of this year’s hunger drive.

“We thought standing out would be good for a change,” she said.

Tom Laughlin, executive director of River Bend Foodbank, said his organization "desperately" needs the food donated every year from the Student Hunger Drive, which donated more than 520,000 pounds of goods in 2013.

“Each can of food sends a message to the recipient that they are not alone in their struggle,” Laughlin told the students.

The food bank, which began serving the area’s hungry in 1982, collects more than 8 million pounds of food annually and serves 300 meal programs in 22 surrounding counties, Laughlin said.

While students from different schools gave each other high fives and fist bumps after each performance, parents, volunteers and spectators provided a constant flow of cheering and yelling for the performers.

In the end, judges awarded Rivermont Collegiate with the 2,000 pounds of food for their rendition of Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda,” titled, “Canaconda.”

Sophomore Manasa Pagadala, 14, led the performance while rapping lyrics the entire group created.

“People know that I like to rap at school, so they wanted me to do this,” Pagadala said after her first performance in front of a large crowd.

“At this age, we usually don’t think about people other than ourselves so this is definitely something I’ll look back on and say, ‘That was cool to be a part of,’” she said.

(See original story on the QC Times website).

Rivermont Collegiate performed a creative skit for the Talent Competition portion for the 2014 Student Hunger Drive Kick-Off Party and won first place! Go Lions!


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