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Bearden is second Knoxville-area school to win in nationwide "Calling All Communities" contest

KNOXVILLE, Tenn., March 2, 200 - For the second time in two weeks, a Knoxville-area school was surprised with a $100,000 announcement from U.S. Cellular. Cheering associates from the company burst into the Bearden High School lunchroom today to reveal that the school had won $100,000. Bearden is the 8th of 10 winners announced in the 2009 "Calling All Communities" campaign that encouraged the community to cast votes for their favorite schools during the holiday season.

"We believed we had run a strong campaign but as the weeks went on we started getting nervous," said Dr. John Bartlett, principal of Bearden High School. "This is a victory for our school and the entire community that supported us all the way; and especially for these students who worked so hard to make this amazing gift happen."

During the campaign, Bearden coaches and football players took to the streets of their community to share information about the contest and urge area residents to vote for their school. The school was able to hold on to a top 10 spot throughout most of the contest because of the sheer power of community support.

The award, which was announced by U.S. Cellular Sr. Director of Sales Dana Dorcas, couldn't have come at a better time for the school. Knox County School revenues reportedly have fallen substantially under projected levels and the school board is facing a $15 million budget gap in the next year. Bartlett said a committee of teachers, parents, and students is being formed to determine which school needs will be met with the gift.

"We will focus this money on how best to facilitate teachers, improve instruction, and increase student achievement."

Bearden joins Heritage High School of Maryville, Tenn. becoming the second Knoxville winner announced in two weeks. Heritage, the first winner announced in the nationwide contest, was surprised on Feb. 13 during a fake assembly.

"We knew that Bearden had ranked high on the top 10 list for most of the campaign so we thought we would have some fun with them and announce Heritage first," said Karen Ehlers, vice president of public affairs and communications for U.S. Cellular. "We were confident that they would forgive us when they heard the great news. Enormous kudos go to these students and this community for proving how amazing school spirit can be."

Other winning schools have been announced in North Carolina, Iowa, Illinois, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Wisconsin. Photos and video footage of the exciting announcements and a list of winners can be seen at

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 $250,000 to non-profit organizations in Knoxville.

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