ALBERTSON, N.C., Feb. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Is there something in the water or is it the school spirit? Whatever the case, North Carolina is on a roll. Today, B.F. Grady Elementary School was crowned the seventh champion in U.S. Cellular's Calling All Communities $1 million campaign. Just 37 miles away, Wayne Country Day School in Goldsboro cashed in last Friday.
"This is something our community will talk about forever," said B.F. Grady Principal Douglas Hill, who got the $100,000 call one day before the surprise announcement. "This whole experience fostered a lot of teambuilding among the staff. Everyone just jumped in to own this."
The school's 800-plus students, faculty, parents and community members, who had gathered for a soccer team pep rally, were caught off guard when more than 100 U.S. Cellular associates stormed the gym tossing t-shirts, 100 Grand candy bars and plenty of confetti. The spontaneous fanfare will be recounted on the popular morning show "The Balancing Act," airing on Lifetime Television. The segment will highlight various ways that companies and individuals support education.
"Albertson is one of many close-knit communities across our state that is committed to education," said Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton. "The residents worked hard to earn this win and should be very proud of this phenomenal accomplishment."
Throughout the campaign, B.F. Grady regularly appeared in the Top 10. Determined to capture as many votes as possible, they kicked their efforts into high gear soliciting support from their community of 2,200 residents and surrounding areas.
Wendy Hooks, principal of 2009 Calling All Communities winner Brogden Primary School in nearby Dudley, was on hand to celebrate the state's fourth winning school in two years – all within a 50-mile radius. Washington High School in Washington was last year's other North Carolina champion.
"We did it again," said Marcel Bekers, director of sales for U.S. Cellular. "Four winning schools in two years equal $400,000 invested in North Carolina education. That's fantastic."
The winnings can be used however the school decides. According to Hill, the school plans to allocate $10,000 to grade levels K-8 for teachers to spend, and the remaining $10,000 will be shared by the PE, music and art departments.
Calling All Communities voter participation this year nearly quadrupled with 430,000 votes cast for 6,800-plus schools nationwide. U.S. Cellular associates will continue to make random, spontaneous visits to the three remaining schools over the next few weeks. Visit uscellular.com/callingallcommunities or U.S. Cellular's Facebook page to view winning school results.
About U.S. Cellular
The 9,000 associates of U.S. Cellular believe a wireless phone enhances people's lives and a wireless company should be in the business of bringing people together. U.S. Cellular has a wide range of monthly plans, including those with unlimited nationwide calling, unlimited free incoming calls and options to prepay. The company made the commitment to invest more than $4.5 million in teachers and schools during 2009 and 2010. Based in Chicago, U.S. Cellular is the nation's fifth-largest full-service wireless carrier, serving 6.2 million customers across the country. To learn more about the company visit one of its retail stores or uscellular.com.
SOURCE U.S. Cellular