On the first day of Christmas vacation and one of the coldest days of the year, the John Tyler and Robert E. Lee high school drill and cheer teams kicked off a two-day competition for the Christmas Kettle Spirit Award.
Starting at 10 a.m. Monday, the teams rang bells at two red kettle stands for the Salvation Army - John Tyler at Wal-Mart on 3802 Texas Highway 64 in Tyler, and Robert E. Lee at the west entrance to Dillard's and the main entrance to Broadway Square Mall.
The contest will continue through Tuesday. The school that raises the most money for The Salvation Army will win a pizza party from Marco's Pizza and will be presented a trophy on Thursday.
"The community wins here," said Sabra Godair, director of the John Tyler High School Brigadette Drill Team and Blue Brigade Pep Squad. "At the end, it really doesn't matter which school gets the most donations. We're always excited to help and there are so many good things that come from this."
The teams will be bundled up again Tuesday, as the high is expected to be in the low 50s.
"It's cold, but we're staying warm with our coats and Santa hats," Zoe Bates, Robert E. Lee cheerleader, said. "The community has been very generous."
The Salvation Army plans to make this an annual event.