In late August, the Linwood (N.J.) Mainland Regional High's school community was rocked with tragedy after four of its prominent football players died in a traffic accident after a morning team practice. Now, three months later the community has unified to help push Mainland High into pole position to win a first-year pride competition being run by Under Armour which will reward the victor with $140,000 of cutting edge uniforms, training gear, shoes and accessories.
With Under Armour's "Finding Undeniable" promotion down to three final contestants, Mainland High has attracted the most points from voters and meeting designated "challenges." With a number of those tasks, the student body found ways to incorporate the memories of Edgar Bozzi, Dean Khoury, Casey Brenner and Nick Conner in the school's "Finding Undeniable" efforts.
The school also received a Twitter shout out from Olympic volleyball gold medalist Misty May-Treanor and had the mayors of the three towns that comprise the Mainland student body -- Linwood, Northfied and Somers Point -- all gather together to produce a whopping 3:30 video which outlined how the three towns come together to cheer for the school, and how additional bonds have been forged out of the tragedy that beset the school in August.
While Mainland may be in the competition's driver's seat, that doesn't necessarily mean that it will walk away with the Under Armour swag. Two other schools -- Alexandria (Va.) Thomas Jefferson High and Hinesville (Ga.) First Presbyterian Christian Academy -- are also in contention for the first annual pseudo school spirit title, with one last video challenge to be completed by all three schools in an effort to land the most votes on Under Armour's Finding Undeniable page, which is linked through Facebook and a variety of our social media outlets.
Regardless of whether Mainland wins the final prize, it's heart warming to see the community rally around another goal so quickly after a tragic event which could changed the entire face of a community, all while honoring the students who were lost at the outset of the football season.