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A last-minute surge and some hard driving by Dunkirk High School helped it win the KISS radio high school spirit contest.

The school won the contest by submitting 949,257 index cards with a message of support for the U.S. military. Teen singing star Avril Lavigne will appear in the Dunkirk gym at 11 a.m. Monday. She performs Sunday at HSBC Arena.

"Dunkirk came from behind this week to win," said David Universal, program director at WKSE-FM 98.5. He said the station received more than 7 million cards from 52 Western New York high schools, including nearly 2 1/2 million on the final day, which was May 9.

Dunkirk surged in the final day of the contest when the school made two trips with nine cars filled with index cards. "They came at 6 p.m. and then were back at 9 p.m. with a second load of cards," Universal said. "It was a lot of cards and a lot of cars."

Gowanda High School finished second with 904,052 cards; Cleveland Hill came in third with 822,877, followed by Attica, 562,124, and Cheektowaga Central, 549,557. All of the 3-inch-by-5-inch index cards bore the message: "Thank you troops."

They will be distributed to armed forces serving in Iraq and the Middle East, Universal said. "We've made arrangements with the military to have them delivered to battalions and companies serving there."

Universal said the top 10 schools in the contest each turned in more than 200,000 index cards. They will receive free lawn seats to the "Kiss the Summer Hello" concert on May 26 at Darien Lake, with six acts performing.

"We wanted to do something special for the kids who did so much on these cards," Universal said.


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