The theme for the day at Effingham Christian School was “expect the unexpected.”
Students were summoned to an assembly room as Julie Moran, office administrator at ECS, said that normally, in their classrooms, students are supposed to be quiet.
“You do not have to be quiet this morning,” she said.
Soon Brooke Cochran, from Windstream Communications’ Classroom Caravan, took the stage to introduce a special guest and to make a special announcement.
ECS won $1,000 from Windstream’s SchoolsWIN Classroom Caravan for expressing its needs via Facebook and Twitter. This money will go toward student scholarships at Effingham Christian, a private school funded by tuition and fundraisers.
“Well, with a school with a small budget like ours that’s a very tight ship,” said ECS headmaster Ted Trainor, “an additional $1,000 is a big deal. That’s one-fifth of a student’s tuition. We give out close to $60,000-$70,000 in financial aid a year to students to afford what we’re doing.”
The national giveaway offers schools multiple opportunities to earn money. In total, the company will be giving away $250,000 this fall to schools in their service areas. Forty $1,000 prizes will be awarded nationally for schools to use as they wish as quick cash.
The students erupted with excitement as the SchoolsWIN mascot, Click the Dog, ran in the room, high-fiving and dancing around with the students.
“Your school, Effingham Christian School, is an incredible school and you deserve so much,” Cochran told students before presenting a novelty oversize check.
At least six schools participating in a community improvement project will win $25,000 prizes for Classroom Connections. Videos of the schools’ projects were uploaded to Windstream’s Web site from September through the end of October. Public voting begins Nov. 7.
Effingham Christian uploaded its community service project video last month, hoping to earn one of those $25,000 prizes.
“You students are in action, serving your neighbors,” said Trainor, “and that’s what we’re all about and glad to be a part of this.”
The school collected money for Pregnancy Care Center, a local nonprofit that works with youth pregnancy and young parents, providing guidance, assistance and training. The school placed baby bottles throughout the county, asking for spare change.
Trainor said that the $1,000 cash prize was a morale booster for the students and the teachers at Effingham Christian.
“I think times have been tough over the last couple of years in private schooling,” Trainor said, “and so any positive news is good news and gives you momentum as a school.
“We’ve been growing in our sports programs, and (have had) success in our programs. So this is just another marker along the way of growth and progress and success. The students need to see that as much as the adults.”