Students, alumni, their families and friends from Osbourn Park High School ate their way through $1.7 million worth of groceries this past spring -- more than at any other metropolitan area school -- as part of a competition sponsored by Giant Food to win computer equipment for their school.
For their efforts at collecting Giant grocery slips for three months ending March 30, Osbourn Park students have won six new computers, a printer and five disc drives.
Principal Jack Lynch said he "knew we were doing well, but was surprised that his school of 2,400 students, not the area's largest, had collected the most sales slips of any area school.
"It's just neat," he said.
Joan Keller, chairman of the business department, which was responsibile for collecting and turning in the slips each week, chalked the success up to "school spirit." "If we can get our kids behind something, they really support it," she said.
Lynch said the contest was run like a competition within the school. Departments were allowed to keep the proportion of computers they earned. The math department came out the big winner, with three of the six computers the school received.
To gain support, teachers posted progress reports of the collection efforts and promised pizza parties for the most sales slips. One teacher drew on the board the picture of each student who was the week's winner in her class.
According to Keller, one student, whose parents are caterers, brought in two sales slips worth thousands of dollars apiece.
"That helped a lot," she said.
"We even had parents of children who'd graduated sending us sales slips," said assistant principal Jack Parker.