It took tons of teen adoration and 27,000 pounds of donated food to bring tween pop star Justin Bieber to Long Beach Middle School.
Students, mostly female, at the Lido Beach school bested 149 other tristate schools in a November food drive to win a personal concert by Bieber in the school's own auditorium.
"It was the determination to win and to help people and to bring Justin Bieber here," said Jackie Gropper, 13, an eighth-grader who spent weekends and nights after school collecting canned goods.
Bieber will perform a concert in February at a date to be determined. Gropper and a group of other devoted fans as well as the Peace and Culture Club organized the drive. They collected 27,014 pounds of food for Island Harvest that was donated back to the community.
"It was so encouraging to see the students demonstrate such leadership and concern," said Doreen Principe, program coordinator for Island Harvest.
The contest was conducted by radio station WXRK-FM, known as "92.3 NOW,'' for schools in the tristate area. But Long Beach apparently had the most severe case of Bieber Fever.
Rye Middle School, with 10,646 pounds of food, and Bridgewater-Raritan Middle School in New Jersey, with 10,357, were "close contenders," according to the radio station's Web site.
Long Beach Middle School principal Audrey Goropeuschek said students came to her when they heard about the contest on the radio.
Organizers hung more than 100 posters and staked out local grocery stores on weekends.
Goropeuschek learned late last month the school had won.
"If you have a dream and you work hard, you can achieve it," she said Tuesday.
Bieber, the Canadian tween heartthrob, caused a near-riot at Roosevelt Field mall in November when he was scheduled to sign copies of his debut album, "My World," at a clothing store. But when a crowd of about 3,000 young girls started pushing and shoving, Nassau police shut down the event.
Goropeuschek said the school will be in lockdown for the concert and only students will be allowed to attend. She said the district will coordinate security with Nassau police. It will take place on a school day in the afternoon.
Bieber will likely perform in the auditorium, which holds 636 students. The school has 851 enrolled, but the principal said many of the boys already have indicated they will not attend. The school is almost equally half boys and half girls.
Any student who does not want to go can opt out, Goropeuschek said. They will be offered an opportunity to go to a local arcade or some other type of activity outside school.
Student Mike Breglia, 13, shrugged his shoulders when asked if he would attend the concert.
"I don't really care," he said.
But Chandler Gregor, 13, and her friend Liz Lieber, 13, can hardly wait.
"I think it is so amazing," Lieber said.