THE 18 CHAMPIONS OF U.S. CELLULAR'S 2011 CALLING ALL COMMUNITIES CAMPAIGN SHARE PLANS TO ALLOCATE THEIR WINNINGS
CHICAGO (December 21, 2011) – Confetti rained, students cheered and pies were thrown to celebrate the 18 winning schools who earned enough votes to win a portion of $1 million in U.S. Cellular's 2011 Calling All Communities campaign. U.S. Cellular associates stopped by the winning schools in October and November to take part in the victory parties with the students, staff and the community members who rallied in support of the winning schools. After the celebrations ended, each of the schools turned their attention to solidifying plans for how the much-needed funds would be best used to enhance their students' educational experiences.
"Winning this contest gave us an opportunity to teach our kids a valuable life lesson that if you do your best and believe in yourself, anything is possible," said Carol Artis, principal of North Drive Elementary School in Goldsboro, N.C. "They work so hard to be great students and we're finally able to give them the new playground they've always wanted."
U.S. Cellular launched its third-annual Calling All Communities campaign in September and called for private and public schools nationwide to gather community votes online. To spread the impact of the campaign even further in 2011, the wireless carrier increased the number of winners this year from 10 to 18 schools. 1.5 million votes were cast for 2,700 schools, and U.S. Cellular doled out $50,000 a piece to the 17 runners up, and ultimately awarded Seymour Primary School in Seymour, Tenn., with the top prize of $150,000 for garnering the most votes nationwide.
"With these funds, we'll be able to provide our students with all of the tools and resources they need to succeed, such as new technology in our classrooms," said Dr. Jan Moore, principal of Seymour Primary School. "We couldn't have won without the support of our Seymour schools, friends, families and neighbors. The entire community is invested in the future of our kids."
"This year's campaign will have an immediate and profound impact on the teachers, administrators and 8,000 students at the 18 winning schools, but it will be several more years before we will see its true value, as each new class of students will benefit from the technology upgrades in the classrooms and enhancements to their schools," said Carter S. Elenz, executive vice president of sales and customer service for U.S. Cellular. "We're looking at ways to make the campaign even better next year and we're excited about helping more students by continuing our $1 million commitment to education."
Tennessee, North Carolina, Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, and Missouri all had winning schools in this year's campaign, which were located in both rural and urban communities and were evenly split between public and private schools. Missouri and Nebraska each had one winning school; Tennessee, Iowa and Illinois each had three winning schools; and North Carolina had seven schools that made it into the top 18. North Carolina and Tennessee have experienced an outpouring of community support for an increasing number of schools since the wireless carrier's campaign got its start back in 2008. U.S. Cellular has collectively awarded $750,000 to 10 schools in North Carolina and $650,000 to seven schools in Tennessee.
The winnings come with no rules on how it is spent; it is completely up to the schools. Most of the winners have allocated the money to upgrade the technology or improve their curriculum, while others are making building improvements. Lutheran Interparish School in Williamsburg, Iowa, has even opted to allocate some of the funds to help with tuition assistance. Each school ultimately differed on how they will use the money; however, all of the 2011 Calling All Communities champions had a common experience. The schools and communities developed a stronger bond throughout the campaign that will continue to benefit the schools, their students and entire communities for a long time to come.
More details on U.S. Cellular's investment in education in 2012 will be available in the coming months.
Editor's Note: Please see separate attachment that lists all 18 winning schools and what they plan do with their funds. Videos of each winning school can be found at Facebook.com/uscellular (click on "Calling All Communities"). A special version incorporating all 18 schools can be found at http://www.uscellular.com/about/community-outreach/calling-all-communities/2011-winners-list.html and in the Press Room at uscellular.com.
About Calling All Communities
Since Calling All Communities began in 2008, U.S. Cellular has awarded $3 million to 38 schools throughout the nation, impacting more than 20,000 students. Voter participation in the 2011 Calling All Communities campaign reached 1.5 million votes cast for 2,700 schools. The 2011 champions included nine public and nine private schools from small rural and large urban communities in Tennessee, North Carolina, Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and Missouri. Past Calling All Communities champions have used their winnings in a variety of ways from outfitting their classrooms with new computers, Promethean boards or other technological advancements to building playgrounds and renovating gymnasiums, school kitchens and science labs. Others have used the donation to make building infrastructure improvements, such as replacing outdated electrical systems. A few schools even paid portions of their proceeds forward, giving college scholarships to graduating students and donating to non-profits around the world.
About U.S. Cellular
U.S. Cellular rewards its customers with unmatched benefits and industry-leading innovations designed to elevate the customer experience. The Chicago-based carrier has a strong line-up of cutting-edge devices that are all backed by its high-speed nationwide network that has the highest call quality of any national carrier. U.S. Cellular was named a J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Customer Service Champion and received PC Magazine's 2011 Readers' Choice Award. To learn more about U.S. Cellular, visit one of its retail stores or uscellular.com. To get the latest news, promos and videos, connect with U.S. Cellular on Facebook.com/uscellular, Twitter.com/uscellular and YouTube.com/uscellularcorp.