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Edison, Buckeye Local “Paws” to Help Santa Claus

Edison and Buckeye Local may be fierce rivals when it comes to sports, but the high schools are getting into the Christmas spirit by teaming up to help local needy children.

Officials from both sites are organizing the “Paws to Help Santa Claus” toy drive, which will conclude Dec. 7 at the schools’ basketball game at EHS. The schools have been collecting toys and those who attend the Wildcat and Panthers games from 5:30-7:30 p.m. can help needy kids within their elementary schools and community. However, the campaign comes with a challenge: the principal of the school gathering the least toys must don the opposing team’s mascot costume during the second half of the game.

The idea was the brainchild of Buckeye North Elementary teacher Heather Long, who is also a high school sports parent club member. She approached BLHS Principal Coy Sudvary and EHS Assistant Principal Josh Leasure, the latter of whom formerly worked in the Buckeye Local, about using that team rivalry for a good cause.

“We’re looking for all students—especially ones in the cheering section—to bring in elementary-level toys for kids in the Edison and Buckeye Local School Districts. I’ve been thinking about the rivalry between [the schools] and we all needed to work together,” Long said. “I thought, ‘Why not use that energy to do good?’”

She organized the toy drive, which includes the “paws” reference to the team mascots, and got the schools on board to benefit needy kids in both districts.

Leasure received support from EHS Principal Matt Morrison and plans were made to begin collecting toys in his building.

“We wanted to collect toys and hope to get a lot of presents,” Leasure said. “I’ve worked with Heather Long and our portion may go to the two elementary schools or a local charitable organization. We may be rivals in sports but we want to work together to do something special for our community, and we hope this continues in the future between our schools.”

Sudvary said BLHS faculty, staff and students began their collections this past week and agreed it was a great way to spread some generosity.

“Buckeye Local High School is very excited to participate in the toy drive to help support students in need. We are excited to work together with the Edison Local community for such a positive campaign,” he commented. “We appreciate any support in donations we can get from our Buckeye Local communities.”

The campaign will conclude at the basketball games, where officials will gather the goods in totes and tally the total number of toys. Sudvary or Leasure will then parade around in the opposing team’s costume during the last half of the game. Meanwhile, the toys will be distributed to needy kids prior to the Christmas break.