PRESTON HIGH SCHOOL SPIRIT RINGS UP $100,000 FROM U.S. CELLULAR'S "CALLING ALL COMMUNITIES" CAMPAIGN
KINGWOOD, W.Va., March 3, 2009 - Preston High School students and faculty received a surprise shower of confetti and fake money today as U.S. Cellular associates rushed into an assembly to reveal that the school had won it's nationwide contest. That fake money means $100,000 in real cash for the school which became the ninth of 10 winners announced in U.S. Cellular's 2009 "Calling All Communities" campaign. The contest encouraged the community to cast votes for their favorite schools during the holiday season.
"We never really believed that we could win but we definitely needed this for our school and our community," said Douglas Riley, principal of Preston High School. "When the call actually came, I didn't believe it was real. I am so proud of these students, this school and this community for never giving up."
"This outstanding accomplishment proves that when a community comes together it has the power to make amazing things happen," Governor Joe Manchin said in a congratulatory letter to the school.
Preston had landed at number 20 on the last Top 20 list of nominated schools that was posted by the company near the contest's end. The school leapt into a winning spot in the final weeks thanks to a flood of school spirit and community support.
"It truly was inspiring to see this school come from behind and win," said Karen Ehlers, vice president of public affairs and communications for U.S. Cellular. "Every school could find use for $100,000 dollars, but Preston High School is a school that has had a lot of doors closed on them lately and so this money will certainly get put to great use -- we couldn't be happier for them."
Riley said the award is especially important after a proposed $50 million school bond was defeated this past November. The bond was partially intended for much-needed repairs at area schools.
"You don't know how much this really means to this community," Riley said. "We can do so much with this."
The first priority most likely will be reducing the burden on some academic programs and services. "By helping these programs we can once again place more focus on the students rather than on the debt," said Riley.
Preston joins other winning schools announced in Tennessee, North Carolina, Iowa, Illinois, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Wisconsin.
Each year U.S. Cellular donates more than $4 million to the United Way and non-profits serving its communities, and last year associates volunteered almost 10,000 hours. In 2008, the company donated more than $50,000 to non-profit organizations in West Virginia.
About U.S. Cellular
The 8,700 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 has a growing catalog of phones like the BlackBerry® Pearl and Curve, and the touch-screen Samsung Delve, which offer e-mail and Web access. 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.