CHICAGO, March 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Nettelhorst Elementary School students had much more to celebrate today than just the end of ISATs. Along with Congressman Mike Quigley (D-5) and Alderman Tom Tunney (44th), more than 150 U.S. Cellular associates stunned the North Side school with news that they are the tenth and final winner in the 2010 Calling All Communities campaign. Nettelhorst is the first-ever Chicago public school to win one of the coveted $100,000 prizes awarded to the 10 schools receiving the most community votes.
"I would like to commend U.S. Cellular for inspiring schools and communities across the country to join forces by supporting children and their education," said Mayor Richard M. Daley. "It is programs like Calling All Communities that truly lead by example showcasing how one person or one community can make a difference in a child's life."
Cheering U.S. Cellular associates tossed t-shirts, hurled 100 Grand candy bars and congratulated ecstatic students and teachers. Brightly-colored confetti filled the playground as television cameras jockeyed for position to catch the excitement. Teachers embraced U.S. Cellular associates and each other, crying tears of joy.
"I'm in shock but it's a good shock," said Nettelhorst Principal Cindy Wulbert, after U.S. Cellular officials reached out to their more than 43,000 Facebook fans for help with tracking her down the night before the big surprise. "This is unbelievable. We have the best parents in the world. You wouldn't believe how many late nights they spent gathering support for our school. They all pulled together to make this happen."
Located in the East Lakeview neighborhood, the CPS Magnet school has received national attention for the high academic achievement of its more than 600 pre-K through eighth grade students. Nettelhorst is often cited in the media as an example of innovation and renewal in urban public schools and has been featured on CBS, PBS, NPR, 60 Minutes, The New York Times and the Chicago papers.
Nettelhorst was in 17th place when the campaign's last Top 20 list was posted in December. In the end, the school beat out more than 6,800 contenders across the country, joining nine other champions that received the most community votes during the two-month-long campaign.
Winning schools in Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Tennessee, North Carolina, Washington, and Oregon also received $100,000 to use any way they choose. Wulbert said the school is still deciding how to use its jackpot, but most likely portions of the funds will be invested into the Community Schools Program and renovating the science lab.
"Though a Chicago school had not won before, we always knew our schools had the heart to do it," said Derek Estes, director of sales in Chicago for U.S. Cellular. "Our Chicagoland associates couldn't be more thrilled to celebrate with such an inspirational school."
Calling All Communities voter participation this year nearly quadrupled with 430,000 votes cast for 6,800-plus schools nationwide. All 10 winning schools in this year's campaign have been announced. Visit uscellular.com/callingallcommunities or U.S. Cellular's Facebook page to view the results.
Continuing its commitment to investing $4.5 million in schools in 2009-2010, U.S. Cellular will launch its popular Calling All Teachers campaign this fall, funding $1 million in classroom projects through DonorsChoose.org.
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 sixth-largest 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