Competition of the Cans


Maggie Walkoff

Students aid Mrs. Annie Wayland as they put boxes of donations from the canned food drive in the back of a truck to be taken to Circle of Concern. "We’re being thankful and then we’re going into winter break where we’re reflecting as a community about how much we have. It’s just a perfect correlation for us to give back to the community and give back to those that are in need," Wayland said.

Every year a rivalry comes to life during the last weeks before finals. For a period of 10 days, Social Studies teachers Annie Wayland and Jeff Chazen host a canned food drive in which they compete to see who can collect the most cans for Circle of Concern.

“Technically it is part the freshman curriculum. We do a community service/learning project. It’s connected with the Great Depression and times out nicely with the holiday season,” Chazen said.

Originally the food drive had been simple and curriculum based- before Wayland and Chazen chose to turn the activity into a competition.

“When we made it into a competition, we really started to hit some amazing numbers. The level of competition has inspired kids to keep on giving. Whether it’s to take down myself or take down Chazen, it has upped the level of competition,” Wayland said.

Ever since the competition began, both Wayland and Chazen have been working to make the event a bigger deal every year through advertising. Most of their advertising can be seen on the main History Department bulletin board.

“This year he did the [fat head cut out] pictures. Last year we did the [giant barometers for each class]. We’re just trying to make it bigger and bigger with the awareness factor of the barometers to show that the daily numbers does make a big difference,” Wayland said.

Not only have the two teachers increased advertising, but they have also increased involvement. This year, the whole History Department was part of the competition.

“We did a blind draw and we drew names out of a hat to see who would be on Team Wayland and Team Chazen,” Chazen said.

Wayland and Chazen work to make the rivalry a big deal for one specific reason.

“Certainly the competition helps as Mr. Chazen and I try to amp up the rivalry and challenge each other and get more into it, so do our students. It really depends on our kids and how much they’re willing to buy into the idea and how willing they are to invest into giving back,” Wayland said.

This year the students charity  reached a record high.

“Team Chazen had 2219 donations and Team Wayland had 2667; for a grand total of 4886 which was a record breaking year for Circle of Concern,” Chazen said.

These donations will be taken to Circle of Concern to help restock their almost empty food pantry.

“Anything that we give whether it’s one can, a few cans or in some cases a 1000 cans – anything is more than what they started with. We’re proud of our kids, no matter what they give,” Wayland said.