Blue Valley schools unite to fight for a cure

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - For 20 years, Blue Valley North High School and Blue Valley Northwest High School have faced off in what has become one of the metro's biggest rivalries. But for Thursday night's football game, the rivalry was set aside as the two schools came together for a higher cause.

"Rather than having it be purple and blue in the stadium, why not have a pink out?" Northwest Principal Dr. Amy Murphy said. "We can come together over something bigger than either school, or bigger than a rivalry, and support something bigger than all of us."

Students from both schools designed pink t-shirts with the motto "Two schools, One Rivalry, One Cure."

"It's one common cause, which is raising money for breast cancer awareness and the Susan G. Komen foundation," Northwest senior Taylor Holmes said.

Together, students sold more than 1,000 shirts to classmates, staff and parents, raising more than $5,000 in two weeks.

The students and staff said they are proud of their efforts to raise awareness about breast cancer, but the project was created with an additional purpose. Last year the rivalry turned "unhealthy" when a group of Northwest students performed a skit that mocked the Jewish kids at North. The skit was posted online and viewed by several students at North, many of which were offended.

"We have had some rough patches between us," Northwest senior Rebecca Magee said.

"It's not fun to have a school that we cannot get along with," North junior Emily Goldman added.

The district said the skit was used as a teaching moment, and since then both student bodies have been working to mend their relationship. In that spirit, the theme for Thursday night's football game was born. With little assistance from teachers and administrators, students from both schools met multiple times to design the shirts and organize how they'll be promoted.

"That's what education is all about," Murphy said. "These young people impress me every day."

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