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“I came in today just thinking we were going to take a yearbook photo,” said Edison High School senior Adrian Hernandez, “and it ended up being that we were the Team Up champs… I was just overwhelmed.”

The Team Up Challenge is an annual student led, community service based program put on by the Silver and Black Give Back, which is a public charity that works in association with Spurs Sports & Entertainment.

This year, 20 local elementary, middle and high schools were selected as semi-finalists and each were awarded $2,500 to put their community service project into effect.

On Friday, April 12, Hernandez and his peers in the Team Up Challenge club at Edison High School became one of the five schools in San Antonio to be named Team Up Challenge champions by Silver and Black Give Back.

In past years, Team Up Challenge champions have participated in projects ranging from building outdoor learning centers to publishing a book on good character traits. For Edison High School, however, their plan was much more simple.

“Our project consisted of us visiting colleges and universities and getting to know what it’s like to be a college student,” said Hernandez. “Also, the second part of our project was to bring some middle school students to our campus and give them an idea of what they want to do once they get into high school and what they want to set their careers in.”

The Team Up Challenge has participants from over 24 San Antonio school districts, and each year, some of these schools are able to put their projects into effect within their community.

According to Hollis Macdonald, the community responsibility coordinator for Silver and Black Give Back, becoming part of the Team Up Challenge is quite simple. “We have five categories [for participation]: arts and culture, environment, education, health and wellness and uniformed services. The projects just have to fall into one of those five categories…the most important thing is that we have a student voice and student leadership. It’s really teaching the kids how to be engaged citizens.”

Being named one of the Team Up Challenge champions, however, comes with more than a sense of pride in doing something great for the community. The Team
Up Challenge champions from each school were awarded $20,000 to continue their projects in and around San Antonio.

Much of the implications of the award did not fully sink in until one of Edison’s faculty advisors, Ben Mendoza, took a moment during the celebration to congratulate the students.

“We want you all [students] to take this $20,000…this means that you all can continue to do this for the next ten years. For some, that’s your little brother or your little sister being able to go and carry this out. I know you all don’t understand it right now, but this is crazy… so celebrate it and enjoy this moment because this is never going to happen again, something like this for your school,” said Mendoza.

The donation that Silver and Black Give back awarded Edison High School will enable the students to plant seeds in the minds of middle schoolers for years to come and will grow into a love of learning and a desire to go to college.

According to Mendoza, the Team Up Challenge club will be taking middle school students to UTSA next school year to teach them how attending a university can change their lives. “It’s very overwhelming to know that all of our hard work paid off. From the start, it was rather difficult to get the process started, but once we got it started, it just kind of flowed through and came out perfect,” said Hernandez. “Mentoring the students just gave me aspirations that this is what i want to do with myself [for a career].”

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