They don't hate each other.
The rivalry between the Firebirds and the Lions may be fierce on the court, but many friendships overlap Lawrence's two high schools. Even if they don't see each other in the hallways every day.
This semester, student leaders at Lawrence and Free State high schools are working on starting a tradition to bring students from their schools together.
And they plan to donate proceeds from the L-Town Get Down dance to Lawrence Habitat for Humanity to help build homes for area families.
"I think that we just really want to get the point across that we want our town to unify all over, not just through the two high schools," said Erin Robinson, Free State student body president.
Student leaders at both schools have begun selling $5 tickets for the dance, set for 8 p.m. March 1 at the Lawrence Holidome, 200 McDonald Drive. They hope to sell 400 tickets at each school to meet capacity of the hotel's Regency Ballroom.
Sarah Craft, a Free State senior, also designed a T-shirt that will include the schools' mascots - Chesty Lion and Freddie the Firebird - in disco suits. Several area businesses are sponsors of the dance.
"We just wanted to make it so that these two high schools that have so much competition and rivalry, they can come together and have a good time," said Susan Schwartz, LHS student body president.
Even though they go to separate schools, Schwartz and Robinson are friends. They met in drivers education class before high school. Robinson attended Southwest Junior High School, so she has plenty of friends who attend LHS. Southwest and Central Junior High feed students into both high schools.
"We wanted just to create a little event so we could all get together and have fun, just a school event that will bring us together as one," Schwartz said.
Other students helping plan the L-Town Get Down include Ellen Hernly, Joe Stogsdill, Hilary Ferguson and Ben Wilson, of LHS, and Alexa Cole, Kevin Song and Clara Groene, of Free State.
Schwartz said planners and administrators hope the dance can become a tradition.