Texas Elementary Student Sarah Shreve "Finds Her Voice" As Winner In Scotties National "Trees Rock" Video Contest

Suffering from 'Selective Mutism' She Wins $5,000 for Herself & $10,000 For Her School

Feb 25, 2013, 07:30 ET from Scotties Facial Tissue

BURLINGTON, Mass., Feb. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Third-grader Sarah Shreve's teachers had never heard her speak -- until two days ago, when the Lone Oak Elementary School student wrapped up the voting in a national video contest she had entered with a comment about her effort.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130225/NE64886 )

Sarah suffers from a severe anxiety disorder called "selective mutism" but when she entered the Scotties Facial National "Trees Rock" Video Contest, things began to change, says her mom, Melissa. "This was a contest that Sarah felt passionate about. When we got the call this week about the judging, Sarah marched over to the phone and spoke into it, saying 'We have an update for Team Sarah -- WE WON!'" (One of the tools Sarah uses for therapy is a phone, which she speaks into without anyone on the other end.) But this call was different. Scotties was calling to tell her that, after a month of online voting and nearly 100,000 votes from the public, Sarah Shreve had won $10,000 for her school and $5,000 for herself.

Sarah's mom, Melissa credits this breakthrough to the confidence Sarah has gained through the "Trees Rock" video contest, in which 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders were challenged to create a short video about the importance of trees in our lives. During the voting period, it truly was a "Team Sarah" mentality in Lone Oak, 60 miles east of Dallas. As the smallest market out of all the top 12 finalists, Lone Oak came together with a "don't mess with Texas" attitude as Principal, Judy Steadham recalls. "There is a real alliance between the school and the community in Lone Oak. We had students who graduated 20 years ago were voting for her."

And, there was more support -- everywhere. Sarah inspired a school employee to use their personal time to individually call people in the town and walk them through the voting process. At an assembly held in her honor -- a very surprising thing happened -- her efforts rendered others speechless, if not in tears!

The prize money will be used to upgrade the technology at Lone Oak Elementary. A school with very few resources will now have the ability to provide students with laptops and tablets.

A panel of judges narrowed entries down to the twelve most compelling in the categories of clarity of message, relativity to theme, and creativity. The winner was then decided by a national vote.

Scotties is committed to being a sustainable company, and in addition to creating this educational program, in cooperation with American Forests, they plant 3 trees for everyone 1 they use – amounting to 877 million in North America over the last 50+ years. For more information on Scotties www.scottiesfacial.com and for the Trees Rock video contest please visit www.scottiestreesrock.com.  

SOURCE Scotties Facial Tissue