What started as a jeans-and-coats drive by four Advanced Placement literature classes at Piedra Vista High School has taken on a new life.

More than 700 pieces of clothing were collected as part of a class competition, teaching students the power of acts of goodwill.

Alexis Domme's classes have been competing against each for five weeks as part of a learning unit dedicated to the book "Life of Pi."

Inspired by the television show "Survivor," the seniors have been battling in various categories in a bid to earn an automatic 90 percent on the exam for the unit.

The categories included a focus on academic responsibility with a research project, competing in Jeopardy! and creating a challenge for another class.

"One class created a scavenger hunt for us," Sara Chota said. "One class made us write essays, which we complained about."

But it was the jeans, coat and canned food drive which created an unique obstacle, potentially ruining the contest.

"The four classes competed in a number of challenges but the clothes one blew out of control," Domme said.

The auxiliary room next to Domme's classroom is full of bags and boxes filled with clothing, crowding the floor. One item of donated clothing yields five points.

"One of the classes brought 700 things of clothes and times five for points, it would wash out the competition," Domme said. "So I emailed them and asked, How do you feel about throwing out the points for clothes?' It stemmed into a great debate.


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Domme fielded responses from some students saying the clothes drive was their plan to win. Others said that winning was the wrong reason for the clothing drive. People and charity should count for more, they said.

The classes agreed not to include the clothing drive toward the overall point total.

The third period class was the victor in the clothes drive. Jesse Martinez brought in 10 to 12 boxes of clothing. Martinez worked with the San Juan College Child Development Center and his mother's workplace to collect the clothes.

"I wanted to help my class out and help the community, kill two birds with one stone, so to speak," Martinez said.

Within the clothing drive competition, students could earn five points for every act of goodwill. This led to students performing multiple acts of goodwill, like opening doors for the elderly, and reporting hem for points.

Domme provided an opportunity for the students to voice their opinion of the program's legitimacy.

"I put on a quiz, Do you believe we should award points for goodwill or not?' Out of 37 responses, seven wanted to while 30 didn't want to. They said it cheapens goodwill."

Domme believes the students learned more about goodwill and immediately saw the effect the lessons had. Each class selected their own venue to donate clothing, choosing nonprofits such as Goodwill, Childhaven and the Salvation Army.

"This morning, I offered second hour points to take their clothes over Tuesday and they said No, we're not doing it for the points. We're doing it for the good of helping people.'"

Domme's sixth-period class won the competition with 1,417 points. Her second-period class finished second with 1,361 points.