PHOENIX, AZ -- (Marketwire) -- 02/08/13 -- Students of Moon Valley High School in Phoenix, Ariz., today helped tip-off the latest round of Howard Johnson's Give Happy Challenge, becoming the first of four schools throughout the country to win a $2,500 donation from the iconic hotel chain in 2013.
Amidst shouts and cheers of 1,400 peers, the challenge took place this morning in the school's gymnasium and pitted 12 of the school's top students against members of the world famous Harlem Globetrotters in a series of six fun and wacky 60-second competitions. Among them: rapidly pulling tissues out of two stationary boxes using both hands and quickly fanning eggs with a pizza box to roll them across the floor.
"As a brand, Howard Johnson has a long history of spreading happiness and giving back in the communities where our hotels operate," said Phil Harvey, vice president of operations for Howard Johnson and event emcee. "Finding and recognizing those who embrace our values of hard work, charity and leadership, is an important part of who we are as a company. We had a lot of fun watching the students compete and I think it's safe to say everyone else did as well."
Howard Johnson chose Moon Valley to participate in this year's challenge based on the good-will efforts of the students in the community, including organizing annual blood and canned food drives as well as participation in national programs like the Empty Bowls project. Adding to the decision was the school's strong academic performance, a fact underscored by the Glendale Union High School District recently being named the Advanced Placement District of the Year by the College Board.
"Those of us who live in this community know that the students of Moon Valley are an outstanding group of young adults," said Craig Mussi, the school's principal. "We're ecstatic to have been given this opportunity and on behalf of the school and the district, I would like to personally thank Howard Johnson and the Harlem Globetrotters for providing our students with such a positive and memorable experience."
In recognition of their high academic and athletic accomplishments, students who competed in the challenge were hand-chosen by the school's administration to represent their fellow classmates. Each received a free t-shirt identifying them as an official Howard Johnson's Give Happy Challenge competitor along with free tickets to one of two official Harlem Globetrotters performances taking place tomorrow at the US Airways Center. Howard Johnson also donated an additional 100 tickets to the school to be used as the school sees fit.
Local families affiliated with Starlight Children's Foundation, the signature charity of the Howard Johnson brand, were also invited to partake in the day's festivities. Families were treated as VIP guests during the event, receiving a private meet and greet with the Harlem Globetrotters prior to the start of the challenge, free tickets to Saturday's performance, custom t-shirts and more.
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