First Presbyterian Christian Academy won this year’s Under Armour Finding Undeniable challenge. The news was announced at Friday night’s High School All-America game in St. Petersburg, Fla. FPCA, which has 110 students, garnered more internet votes than Needham Broughton High School’s 2,200 students in Raleigh, N.C., and now will receive more than $140,000 worth of athletic equipment, attire and accessories from Under Armour.
Sixty-five representatives from FPCA, including educational media director Maria Reed, made the trek to Florida in anticipation of the announcement. She and students Bethany Lormis and Trevon Harris joined hands at midfield as they waited for the winner to be announced.
“What hit me first was the screams from our group of people,” Reed said, adding she still wasn’t quite sure whether FPCA had won. “You could just hear this giant wave of sound. I couldn’t hear the announcer next to me. I just heard the screams from our group. It was very surreal. I thought, ‘Did that really happen? Did we really win? We won, we won!’ Then it was just screaming and hugging, and I’m a crier. Yeah, I cried.”
FPCA’s Facebook page blew up with congratulatory comments immediately after the announcement, and many well-wishers thanked Reed, who spearheaded this year’s competition effort. But Reed was quick to credit everyone who pitched in.
“I’m grateful and I’m thankful that we all worked hard and that everybody sees how much work went into it,” she said. “But it was not a solo act. There is no way one person could do this. Everybody in the community — friends, family — there were people that had no connection to the school that got involved. We had supporters in Miami, Virginia, California, Twitter, people we don’t even know at all. Twitter was a wonderful way to reach out to people. It was so beautiful to see everybody coming together for one common cause and greater good.”
The Highlanders, who launched a football team this school year, also participated in last year’s Finding Undeniable competition and came in a close second. However, they were commended for their spirit.
Reed said she thinks it was a mere 100 votes or so that kept FPCA from winning last year, and added that she understands the disappointment students and staffers at Needham Broughton must be feeling.
“It’s winner-take-all,” Reed said. “Just like last year, the runner up gets nothing, and that was a hard one to swallow. So we felt for the other school, and I looked at the gentleman from the other school and I told him, ‘Do it again next year.’”
Reed said the man told her he didn’t think he could try again next year. Reed said that was the exact same reaction she had.
“I really thought there was no way I’m doing it again,” she said. “But the kids were the ones that came up and said, ‘We have to do it again, we have to.’ And I’m so proud of them.”
Reed isn’t sure what happens next. She said FPCA will wait to hear from Under Armour representatives to see when the prize will be presented.
FPCA is on break until Tuesday. Once school resumes, Reed said she’ll have a better idea of how the prize will be divided among the athletic programs.