Blue boxes marked with the words 'DHS Donations' strategically placed in local businesses around town mean one thing in Dexter — the start of senior survivor week at .
The wildly popular competition is entering its third year at the high school, and pits six teams of seniors (a boy and a girl) against one another to see who can earn the most points in 168 hours. At the end of the week, the team left standing selects a charity of their choice to donate the prize money.
"The first year we did Senior Survivor, we raised $5,500, and last year we raised $10,200 for charity," Al Snider, DHS student council adviser said. "This year, due to recent events, all of the money raised will be donated to the Dexter Tornado Relief Fund and Faith in Action.
Snider said student teams are selected via a pool of applicants a week before the competition. A senior girl and boy are randomly assigned together and tasked to raise as much money as they can prior to the event kick-off on April 23. All of the money from the six teams is set aside for the grand prize.
Throughout the week, teams must, eat, sleep and shower at the school, while attending classes as well as competing in challenges designed by the student council. Points are awarded to teams based on how quickly they can complete a challenge, such as human tic-tac-toe. The team that wins the least amount of challenges each night will be eliminated and sent home until only one team remains.
"I'm really impressed with how innovative the students are in raising money," Snider said. "One team is selling T-shirts, while another is selling baked goods and collecting donations from family members."
To encourage fundraising, Snider said each year he adds a little incentive, which last year included shaving his head after students hit the $10,000 goal.
"I told the teams that if they raise more than $10,000 this year, I'll sleep on the roof of the high school," he said. "As quickly as they are raising money, it looks like I could be spending a night up on the roof."
Alex Friedman, co-captain for the blue team, said he is looking forward to this year's event and working with fellow teammate Ali Bowman.
"I saw a friend participate last year and it got me interested. It makes me feel good to help out others while participating in something that is fun and exciting," he said.
Though he is mum to how much the team has raised, he said he is feeling pretty confident going into opening day ceremonies.
"One of the biggest challenges for me will be sleeping on the floor at the high school with the other teams, and then having to go to class every day," Friedman said. "We can't leave the building, so it's going to be like a prison."
Though students have been told the competitions include activities like making a team banner, Friedman said he's also heard there are various food challenges.
"I've been told that one thing we have to do is eat the contents of a McDonald's Happy Meal blended together," he said. "I'm fine doing that, as long as I don't have to look at it or smell it."
Friedman said he and Bowman have been "sizing up the competition" and are looking to forge alliances with other teams as the week progresses.
"I think everyone is trying to do their best in light of the tornado. It happened so recently and it's still in a lot of people's memory, so we're all taking Senior Survivor more seriously this year," Friedman said.
Snider said he is hoping to have student filmmakers document this year's event and post team updates on the Dexter High School Facebook page throughout the week.
Echoing the chilling words from author Suzanne Collins' novel, The Hunger Games, Snider said, "May the best person win; and may the odds be ever in your favor."