CHICAGO (December 18, 2009) – The only gift some schools want for the holidays is your vote and every one will count in U.S. Cellular’s Calling All Communities campaign as schools across the country vie for a chance to share $1 million. The top 10 schools with the most votes will win $100,000 each to use anyway they choose. In the past week, about 600 more schools joined the race, pushing the total number of those competing schools to more than 5,000. The contenders – from communities large and small – have pulled in more than 86,000 votes.
“It’s hard to think of a better gift for a school than one that can make a major impact on their students’ education,” said Jack Brundige, director of sales for U.S. Cellular in Tennessee. “If last year’s campaign is any indication, this will be an exciting race to the finish, filled with dramatic twists and turns until the last vote is cast.”
Tennessee schools currently in the Top 20 include Seymour High School in Seymour at No. 1, Temple Baptist Academy in Powell at No. 7, A. H. Roberts Elementary School in Livingston at No. 17, Knoxville Jewish Day School at No. 19 and Grace Christian Academy in Knoxville at No. 20.
Excitement builds as each new list of leading schools is released, revealing whether the hard work of supporters is paying off for their favorite school. Some schools like Seymour High School in Seymour, Tenn., Central Lutheran School in Newhall, Iowa, and Hobbton Middle School in Newton Grove, N.C., have dug in their heels to hold on to their top spots. Others like Schwartz Elementary School of Oklahoma City, Okla., which rose five spots, and Robert Lince Elementary School in Selah, Wash., made huge strides to chip away at the gap between leading schools. Robert Lince leapt six slots and cracked the Top 10 for the first time, but the school can’t rest. Only 50 votes separate it from the 11th-ranked school St. Stephen the Martyr School in Omaha, Neb., which has been climbing slowly since joining the ranks four weeks ago.
The biggest surprise this week came from Kate Wickham Elementary School in Coralville, Iowa. The school landed at number 15 after ranking 32nd on the list of Top 100 schools released last week. Another school, A.H. Roberts Elementary School in Livingston, Tenn., soared 12 places to snag a spot in the top 20 after appearing 29th. The school had ranked as high as 6th place on a previous list during the campaign.
“It’s a constant rollercoaster ride,” Brundige said. “Some schools move in and out of the Top 20 list as the weeks go by. Last year, some early leaders saw their chances slip away and others picked up speed at the end and came out on top. The key is to keep the momentum going, and never give up.”
With a month left in the campaign and more votes being cast daily, the Top 20 list changes quickly. Click here to check out the current leaderboard. Updates are posted weekly at participating U.S. Cellular stores, at uscellular.com/callingallcommunities and on U.S. Cellular’s facebook page.
Anyone 18 or older can visit any U.S. Cellular store to pick up a voting code, and each voting code can only be used once. Schools of all sizes, public, private, urban and rural, K- 12 have a chance to become a Calling All Communities champion. Winning schools will be announced in February 2010. No purchase is necessary to vote. See official rules at uscellular.com/callingallcommunities.