KNOXVILLE -- In the Fall of 2011, confetti rained, students cheered and pies were thrown to celebrate the 18 winning schools who earned enough votes to win a portion of $1 million in U.S. Cellular's 2011 Calling All Communities campaign.
Three Tennessee schools were named 2011 Calling All Communities Champions. Seymour Primary School in Seymour, Tenn., was the $150,000 grand prize winner. The school plans to enhance its technology and purchase other educational tools with the prize money.
Capshaw Elementary School in Cookeville, Tenn., and Pickett County K–8 School in Byrdstown, Tenn., finished in the top 18 and each won $50,000. Capshaw Elementary School plans to update its old computer lab, and Pickett County K-8 School is deciding the best ways to allocate its winnings.
"Winning this contest gave us an opportunity to teach our kids a valuable life lesson that if you do your best and believe in yourself, anything is possible," said Carol Artis, principal of North Drive Elementary School in Goldsboro, N.C. "They work so hard to be great students, and we're finally able to give them the new playground they've always wanted."
U.S. Cellular launched its third-annual Calling All Communities campaign in September and called for private and public schools nationwide to gather community votes online. To spread the impact of the campaign even further in 2011, the wireless carrier increased the number of winners this year from 10 to 18 schools. 1.5 million votes were cast for 2,700 schools, and U.S. Cellular doled out $50,000 a piece to the 17 runners up, and ultimately awarded Seymour Primary School in Tennessee with the top prize of $150,000 for garnering the most votes nationwide.
"With these funds, we'll be able to provide our students with all of the tools and resources they need to succeed, such as new technology in our classrooms," said Dr. Jan Moore, principal of Seymour Primary School. "We couldn't have won without the support of our Seymour schools, friends, families and neighbors. The entire community is invested in the future of our kids."
"This year's campaign will have an immediate and profound impact on the teachers, administrators and 8,000 students at the 18 winning schools, but it will be several more years before we will see its true value, as each new class of students will benefit from the technology upgrades in the classrooms and enhancements to their schools," said Carter S. Elenz, executive vice president of sales and customer service for U.S. Cellular. "We're looking at ways to make the campaign even better next year and we're excited about helping more students by continuing our $1 million commitment to education."
Since Calling All Communities began in 2008, U.S. Cellular has awarded $3 million to 38 schools throughout the nation, impacting more than 20,000 students.