|November 2, 2012 -
Students, teachers and administrators at Seymour Middle School are $150,000 richer today after being named 2012 Champions and the grand prize winner in U.S. Cellular's (NYSE: USM) Calling All Communities campaign. The contest awards $150,000 to the school that garners the most online votes and the next 17 schools receive $50,000 each.
All 18 winners in the 2012 campaign were revealed in a video from U.S. Cellular's president and CEO, Mary N. Dillon, which was posted on the company's website (uscellular.com).
For the third year in a row a school in Seymour, Tenn., a suburb of Knoxville with 11,000 residents, has captured the top prize in the wireless carrier's $1 million nationwide campaign to support education. Seymour Middle School rallied the most votes to take home the $150,000. In 2011, Seymour Primary School was the big $150,000 winner, and Seymour High School won $100,000 the year before.
Seymour joins three other Tennessee schools in the Top 18, including Pickett County High School in Byrdstown as well as Algood Elementary School and Northeast Elementary School in Cookeville.
"It is exciting that Tennessee has four Calling All Communities winners including the grand prize winning school for the second year in a row," Gov. Bill Haslam said. "Each of these schools has done a great job of rallying their teachers, parents and communities to compete for this funding. We appreciate U.S. Cellular and companies across our state and nation that are engaging local communities and making significant investments in education."
Since U.S. Cellular's Calling All Communities campaign began, a total of 11 Tennessee schools have a won a total of $950,000.
In this year's campaign, Illinois matched Tennessee's statewide total with four winning schools, Iowa tallied three winners and North Carolina and Oklahoma each had two. Missouri, Nebraska and Wisconsin had one winner apiece to round out the list of 2012 champions. More than 180,000 votes were cast during the 2012 campaign for 1,368 schools nationwide. Each week the Top 18 list was reshuffled as new schools rose up the ranks. In the final week of voting, four schools outside of the Top 18 made a strong push and secured enough votes to end up in the money: Big Pasture Elementary School in Randlett, Okla., Hugo Middle School in Hugo, Okla., Isaac Newton Christian Academy in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Northeast Elementary School in Cookeville.
To get out the vote in Davenport, Iowa, first graders at Trinity Lutheran School put together a YouTube video to tell people they need the money to repair the school's air conditioning. Lori Burns, principal of Monroe Elementary School in Janesville, Wis., promised to spend a night on the school's roof if they won a share of the $1 million prize. The school also took out billboards around town to direct people to their local U.S. Cellular store.
"We're inspired by the tenacity and spirit of this year's winners, who harnessed the support from their friends, families, PTAs, alumni and local businesses to encourage voting from the first day to the final weekend," said Jack Brundige, director of sales for U.S. Cellular in Tennessee. "We can't wait to hear about how the schools plan to use the winnings they worked so hard to earn."
Here are the 2012 Calling All Communities Champions:
$150,000 Grand Prize Winning School
Seymour Middle School, Seymour, Tenn.
$50,000 Winning Schools
Aqsa Islamic School, Bridgeview, Ill.
Algood Elementary School, Cookeville, Tenn.
Big Pasture Elementary School, Randlett, Okla.
Columbia Central School, Steger, Ill.
Hugo Middle School, Hugo, Okla.
Iowa Mennonite School, Kalona, Iowa
Isaac Newton Christian Academy, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Monroe Elementary School, Janesville, Wis.
Northeast Elementary School, Cookeville, Tenn.
Norwayne Middle School, Fremont, N.C.
Pickett County High School, Byrdstown, Tenn.
Spring Creek Elementary School, Goldsboro, N.C.
St. Damian Elementary School, Oak Forest, Ill.
St. Gerard Majella School, St. Louis
St. Michael School, Orland Park, Ill.
St. Wenceslaus School South, Omaha, Neb.
Trinity Lutheran School, Davenport, Iowa