Stillwater News Press

November 2, 2013

Meridian students kick off United Way campaign with Cardboard Arcade

By NewsPress Staff
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — Creativity and cardboard recently collided for a great cause at Meridian Technology Center.

Members of the school’s CareerTech Student Organizations let their imaginations run wild and created a classic arcade constructed completely of cardboard to support the Stillwater Area United Way.

Each of the school’s four student organizations were tasked with contributing at least two games to the fundraising event. In the end, the student groups collectively created nearly 20 activities for students and staff to enjoy. Games included arcade staples such as skee ball and balloon darts, but also had program-themed attractions such as Catch the Flu and Strep Strike.

“Our organization took suggestions from our members about what games we would create,” said Mandy Neal, president of the afternoon Health Occupations Students of America organization. “We had a list of eight or nine games to choose from. Rather than pick one or two, we decided to build nearly all of them.”

Students and staff at Meridian had an opportunity to purchase tickets during the Cardboard Arcade. A dime at a time, the group sold more than 4,000 tickets during the one-day event.

The inspiration for the activity came from a segment shown at the 2013 Chick-Fil-A Leadercast featuring Caine’s Arcade, the story of a cardboard arcade created by a 9-year-old boy in the front of his father’s auto parts store. A short film was made about the arcade, and it quickly went from a movie to a worldwide movement celebrating creativity.

Not long after the film received national attention, a group established the Imagination Foundation. This non-profit organization is dedicated to finding, funding and fostering creativity and entrepreneurship in kids around the world by supporting a new generation of innovators and problem solvers. The foundation recently hosted its second annual Global Cardboard Challenge encouraging others to build and design creations using only cardboard, recycled materials and imagination. Meridian’s Cardboard Arcade was a part of this movement.

“What we did with the arcade ties directly into what students love about coming to Meridian,” said Cara Adney, co-sponsor of the Leadership Class that hosted the school’s arcade. “All of our programs are hands-on and have a creative element. Whether students are building a robot in our Pre-Engineering Academy or building a house in our construction trades programs, creativity and imagination are at the core of learning at Meridian. We put those elements to use and raised money to support the Stillwater Area United Way.”

Stillwater Area United Way Executive Director Sheri Carter had a chance to see the games in action.

“I was really impressed with the hard work and ingenuity that was put into this event,” she said of the project’s success. “It is the only event of this kind that I know of being done to raise funds for our local United Way. It was so much fun seeing the creativity of the students displayed in their cardboard arcade.”

This activity formally kicked off Meridian’s United Way fundraising efforts. Other events include a candy guessing contest, paying for causal denim days, hosting a book and magazine resale store and a gift basket silent auction that will be held in conjunction with the school’s annual Thanksgiving luncheon on Nov. 14. The Stillwater Area United Way serves 25 agencies and each year meets the needs of nearly 77,000 residents. This year the fundraising goal is $875,000.

For more information on Caine’s Arcade or the Imagination Foundation visit

For more information or to enroll visit or contact a career counselor by phone at 405-377-3333 or toll-free at 888-607-2509.