PARSIPPANY, NJ--(Marketwire - Jan 26, 2012) - Today, students of Claudia Taylor "Lady Bird" Johnson High School in San Antonio, Tex. helped kick off the Howard Johnson® hotel brand's 2012 Give Happy Challenge, becoming the first of four schools throughout the country to win a $2,500 donation courtesy of the iconic hotel chain.
The event took place during an assembly this afternoon in the school's gymnasium, where hotel brand representatives joined the world famous Harlem Globetrotters as they took on 10 of the school's top student athletes in a series of fun and wacky 60-second competitions.
In front of an audience of 600 of their peers and amidst music, banners and balloons, the students defeated members of the Globetrotters in competitions that ranged from sliding cookies down their faces and into their mouths with no hands to quickly rolling eggs across the gym floor by fanning them with pizza boxes.
"Howard Johnson is a brand that's all about spreading happiness and giving back," said Rui Barros, Howard Johnson brand senior vice president and emcee for the event. "Finding schools and students that do the same is important to us and Johnson High School definitely fits the bill. We had a blast watching them compete and from the looks of it, I suspect their classmates did too."
Johnson High School was chosen by the brand based on their good-will efforts in the community, including the school's annual toy drive and fund raising efforts to help those affected by the Bastrop fires, which damaged hundreds of homes and tens of thousands of acres of land. Students invited to be in the audience were chosen by the school as a reward for perfect attendance records.
Joining the festivities were local families affiliated with Starlight Children's Foundation, the signature charity of the Howard Johnson brand. The families were treated as VIP guests during the event.
"Those of us in the San Antonio community know that the students of Johnson High School are an outstanding group of young adults," said John Mehlbrech, the school's Principal. "We can't say thank you enough to Howard Johnson and the Harlem Globetrotters for providing this outstanding opportunity. It was great fun for everyone involved."
The student athletes participating in the event were hand-picked by the school's administration to represent their fellow students and each received a free t-shirt identifying them as an official "Give Happy Challenge" competitor as well as free tickets to the official Harlem Globetrotters performance taking place later this evening at the AT&T Center. The Howard Johnson brand donated an additional 100 tickets to the school for upcoming Harlem Globetrotters performances to be used at future fundraising events.
San Antonio marks the first of four Give Happy Challenge events taking place across the country. In the coming months, additional schools from San Diego, Calif.; Hartford, Conn.; and Orlando, Fla. will get a chance at winning the $2,500 prize. Johnson High School plans to utilize the money to build a display recognizing the many achievements of its students.
The Original Harlem Globetrotters are celebrating their 86th consecutive year in 2012, continuing a world famous tradition of ball handling wizardry, basketball artistry, and one-of-a-kind family entertainment that continues to thrill fans of all ages. Proud inductees of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the Globetrotters have entertained hundreds of millions of fans -- in 120 countries and territories on six continents -- over more than eight thrilling decades. For the latest news and information about the Harlem Globetrotters, and to purchase tickets and team merchandise, visit the Globetrotters' official website: www.harlemglobetrotters.com.
The Howard Johnson hotel brand, a member of the Wyndham Hotel Group family of lodging brands, is the official hotel sponsor of the Harlem Globetrotter's 2012 North American Tour. Most properties offer free wireless Internet and access complimentary Rise & Dine® continental breakfast while select properties allow pets.
Reservations and information are available by calling (800) 446-4656 or by visiting www.hojo.com. All Howard Johnson hotels are independently owned and operated. Howard Johnson International is an indirect subsidiary of Wyndham Worldwide Corporation (NYSE: WYN). For more information about hotel franchising opportunities visit www.whgdevelopment.com.
Public Relations Manager
Wyndham Hotel Group
22 Sylvan Way
Parsippany, NJ 07054
+1 (973) 753-6590