Contest rewards students and charitable organizations at the same time


A project that started with XTO Energy wanting to give back to the community ended with a lot of smiles at Shadyside High School on Tuesday.

Three students–all freshmen at Shadyside –tied for first place in XTO’s Community Leaders of Tomorrow Contest.

They each got a prize, and so did the non-profit charities they chose to focus on.

XTO officials say they wanted to donate to some worthy causes in the community.

But they decided to let high school students come up with the names of those organizations.

So they held a contest.

The students had to pick a charity and make a video about them. 

The three winners chose Books with Badges, VFW Post 626, and Southeast Health Care.

In the end, they all ended up winners.

“They had to be a little bit entrepreneurial, use a multi-media approach, and they made a video about their ideas on how to help a non-profit in the community,” said John Poilek, Shadyside High School principal.

“My project was making a video for the non profit organization Books With Badges,” said Ryan Zumpano, freshman. “They come into local elementary schools with law enforcement and teach the little kids how to read or at least read books with them.”

“A lot of times, we have families with kids who don’t have the money to go out in the community on their own,” said Melissa Powers, regional director for Southeast Health. “So this might be an opportunity for them to get furniture or fill any type of needs they might have.”

“This money will go to good use,” said Thomas Cottello, post commander of VFW Post 626. “I can tell you that.”

The three winning students each got $1500 and an iPad.

The charities they chose each got $1500.

The representatives of the charities said this came as a complete surprise.

The VFW post commander was emotional, saying he was touched that a young person would give any thought to a veterans’ organization.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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