Rival schools in Franklin County rally together for a cause - KMOV.com

Rival schools in Franklin County rally together for a cause

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Students participating in a blood drive in Washington, Mo. (Credit: KMOV) Students participating in a blood drive in Washington, Mo. (Credit: KMOV)

A rivalry between two high schools in Washington, Missouri is being put aside to save lives.

St. Francis Borgia Regional High School, known as Borgia, and Washington High School have been competing against each other for decades, but recently a cause dear to students at both schools brought them together.

The halls of Washington High School have felt a little different this fall. Instead of in class, junior Paige Babbs has been in and out of the hospital.

“It’s actually really hard. I tell her all the time. It’s so much less fun without her because we’d had a few classes together and especially orchestra. It’s different not having her face there,” said Sophie Hellebusch, one of Paige’s friends.

Sophie said she was shocked when Paige told her this summer that she was diagnosed with leukemia.

“It was just really out of the blue. Something you would never expect. But, we’re getting through it,” said Sophie. “She’s doing better. She’s in remission. So everything’s getting better. It’s just, she doesn’t always feel the best.”

Still, even the thought of their friend can light up faces at Washington High School.

“She’s very funny and always happy. She always puts you in a good mood and is just always bright,” said Ali Schwoeppe, another of Paige’s friends.

It’s a sentiment felt across town at Borgia, too.

“She’s such a strong person. She never gives up. Always Lights up a room. It’s great,” said Anna Lemon, a Borgia student who is also friends with Paige.

Studentsat Borgia know what it feels like to be rallying around a sick classmate. That’s why the Knights dedicated their Fall blood drive to Paige, a Washington Blue Jay.

“I thought it was really awesome because even though we are crosstown rivals, we all come together and it’s really nice,” said Lemon.

In a way, the Knights were simply paying back the kindness they’d been shown. As News 4 reported last school year, Washington High School dedicated a blood drive to Borgia senior Steph Lindemann.

“Steph has a beautiful soul,” said Moira Vossbrink, director of Marketing and Admissions at Borgia High School. “She is a vibrant joyful person. She has such a great spirit about her all throughout this”

When Steph was in the middle of her fight against stage four Ewing Sarcoma, the Blue Jays stepped up, dedicating a blood drive to her.

“We went from 60 donors scheduled to 130 within about three or four hours of having that information out to the kids,” said Krista Williams, the Washington High School teacher who coordinated the blood drive and also happens to be a Borgia alum.

Now, the selfless gesture has come full circle.

“We want to show our support, not for only our own students, but also Washington High School, and send a feeling everyone is part of this community,” said Nicole Addison, the Student Council moderator at Borgia who helped plan the latest blood drive.

As for Steph, the Borgia student who the whole town first rallied around, her teachers said she’s in remission. She graduated with her class this past spring and is taking college courses.

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