CATAWBA COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - High school fundraisers are nothing new, but there's something really different about a fundraiser for a school in Catawba County. As far as anyone in the area knows, it's the first time a school has ever gotten students from rival schools to help raise money.
The rivalry between Bandys High School from Catawba County and Lincolnton High School from Lincoln County is one of the best in the state. So imagine a student from Lincolnton helping raise money for Bandys.
I asked Andrew Patterson, a junior at Lincolnton High School, "You're selling tickets that are actually helping raise money for a rival high school. Did you know that?"
"Oh, of course!" he answered.
When I asked him how he felt about it, he replied, "I don't know how I feel about it. All I know is when football season comes around, I know we'll give 'em the works."
Actually, students from several rival schools are helping sell tickets for Bandys' big fundraiser, "Rockin' the Farm." It's a concert this Saturday at the Bandys football stadium featuring two of country music's biggest up-and-coming acts - Love and Theft, and Kelby Costner.
Bandys principal Angela Williams admits having rival schools sell tickets to a Bandys fundraiser is something different.
"Well, it's very unusual," she says, "but the opportunity for them to be able to come to see a Nashville act. We are giving them part of the proceeds too, of the ticket sales. So when they sell $15 worth of tickets, or a ticket for $15, they get half of that money for their school because we felt like that would be something that would give them a little incentive to help us."
Tony Worley, principal at rival Lincolnton High, likes the idea of helping another school.
"Well you know, I think we can be rivals on the football field or on the basketball court. But other things I think we can work on together, because I think we are a larger community together. We all have the same goal. We all have the same thing. We're trying to help our students do well in school and go to the next level. So I think it's more of a community thing, so I think we can support each other in community events."
Despite the rivalries, students from many area schools have taken to the idea.
"I think it's a good thing to be competitive, but while being competitive, it's also good thing to promote the community," said Carson Weathers, a junior at Lincolnton High School.
"We're rivals on the field, but we all have the same goals," added Alex Secrest, another junior at Lincolnton. "Once we come to school, we're all trying to learn and better ourselves and just move on and do bigger and better things."
Bandys students say they welcome the additional help selling tickets.
"I think there's just a special bond around Catawba County schools, and I think we all come together as a group," junior Noah Caldwell said.
"Our community is so close, and it's just good that we're all coming together to support each other," Carlee Edwards, a Bandys junior said.
Even county officials have taken notice of the rivals helping one another.
"We have a good community that always tries to work together no matter what. So it was very exciting to see that all the parties came together," Catawba County Commissioner Barbara Beatty says. "And Saturday is going to be wonderful because we're going to have everyone there. So I'm very excited to be a part of it."
Considering Bandys has already raised around $50,000, don't be surprised to see more fundraisers of this type. It seems the best of rivalries can also make the best of friends.
The concert is this Saturday at Bandys High School football stadium and tickets are still available. You can get tickets at schools in Catawba County... and at Lincolnton High School.
Tickets will also be available at the door the night of the concert.