First Presbyterian Christian Academy last year was deemed the school with “most undeniable drive,” and this year, the Highlanders are charging full force into the second Under Armour Finding Undeniable challenge.
Students, parents and staff members kicked off the challenge Tuesday with several activities, including taking over the parking lot of Lowe’s to create the world’s largest Under Armour logo.
Like last year, the athletic apparel company will give $140,000 in uniforms, apparel, footwear and accessories to the school that shows the most heart and determination.
“For us, it’s breaking down the myth that private schools are rich and getting the community to come together as a whole — and we have so many new families this year that it’s a way for us to bring in these new families and get to know them and engage them and the new students,” FPCA Head of School Sammi Hester said.
But unlike last year, participating high schools no longer will earn points from daily online voting.
Instead, schools will earn points for the number of supporters who vote for schools a single time — and supporters are asked to participate in challenges to show their vigor for the school.
“Because of what we accomplished last year, and how far ‘the little school that could’ advanced, we are the game-changer — it’s not a vote per day,” technology teacher Maria Reed said. “They want the community and the people to support (us).”
So far, FPCA still is the smallest school to enter the competition; its overall enrollment is near 400, but only the 110 high school students and 12 varsity teams are listed on the school’s Finding Undeniable page.
Hester and Reed said last year that the voting system was detrimental to small schools, which influenced challenge organizers to change the game.
Events like taking over the Lowe’s parking lot with water-based paint give the school an added chance to demonstrate its drive, Reed added.
Another group of about 60 FPCA representatives will take the challenge across state lines with a train trip this weekend to New York City, where the school has some tricks up its sleeve to demonstrate its prowess and rally supporters.
New FPCA music teacher Cori Burkett and her husband, 82nd Civil Affairs Battalion Staff Sgt. Jason Burkett, did not know about the challenge until after they enrolled their three children in the school, but Dad and their daughters — Arianna, a ninth-grader, and Hannah, a seventh-grader — are embarking on the New York journey.
“This is our first year at the school, but we heard about how close we were last year,” Cori Burkett said. “That money for our school would open up so many doors with the new sports teams, the music department. Eventually we want to have a marching band and all these things that have (to have) money.”
“I think it’s just important as a parent to be involved in your kid’s school,” Jason Burkett said.
The military family moved to the area less than a year ago, and the challenge will help them become more involved with their new community through a positive avenue.
The first round of competition ends at 3 p.m. Nov. 20. At that point, four teams with the highest scores and four wild-card picks will enter into a weeklong head-to-head tournament.
Seniors Lupita Martinez and Ashley Harris reflected on the challenge as they chalked the parking lot.
Harris, who attended the school from third through eighth grade and returned for her final year, said the challenge offers many activities to come together beyond the traditional classroom setting.
“Our school really came together just to do stuff like this, so it was a good feeling,” Martinez said. “With all the different things that we did, it wasn’t just the seniors or it wasn’t just the juniors — it was everybody kind of mixed in, and everybody helped out; in a way, we all got to know new people.”