Iola-Scandinavia has come out on top again.
The I-S High School recently won $20,000 in a Cellcom contest.
Cellcom’s Project Innovate, a community voting program, was offered to public and private high schools in Calumet, Waupaca and portions of Winnebago County, giving them the opportunity to win a grand prize of $20,000 in cash exclusively for the purchase of technology.
Iola-Scandinavia came away with the win, beating out schools such as Oshkosh Lourdes, Oshkosh West, Winneconne, Clintonville, Waupaca, Stockbridge, Omro and New Holstein.
“We are simply thrilled and totally excited in receiving the news,” said District Administrator David Dyb. “Much of the credit needs to go to the students who engaged in the project and went out to solicit votes on behalf of the school district. It once again shows how dedicated we can be as a school community towards a specific cause.”
Project Innovate winners were determined by the number of qualified votes cast for each school during the month-long voting period, Oct. 21 through Nov. 22.
Derf Reese, area retail manager for Cellcom, presented the $20,000 check to high school science teacher Bill Lund on Dec. 13.
“I usually follow a script when I am presenting something,” said Reese. “This time I am not going to. Your story is so inspirational to me.”
“You signed up for the program and hit the ground running. And when your lead started to narrow, I saw this community work even harder,” he said. “Just goes to show you that it is not the size of the dog in the fight, but rather the size of the fight in the dog.”
“Mr. Lund deserves a lot of the credit for getting this project off the ground,” Dyb said. “He has been instrumental from the start of not only this particular project, but the overall advancement and integration of technology into the high school.”
“This is a great accomplishment for our school and community,” said High School/Middle School Principal Sara Anderson. “Through the daily efforts of Mr. Lund and the students we were able to reach out to family, friends and contacts across the United States, who cast their Project Innovate vote for Iola-Scandinavia Schools. This is another great example of what a small, caring school and community can do when everyone pulls together.”
The I-S students were especially excited about winning the top prize.
“We worked so hard for this,” said Kylie Johnson. “Now the elementary school can get Wi-Fi. My mom is really excited about that.” Johnson’s mother teaches kindergarten there.
“This will help us a lot,” said Megan Mazemke. “$20,000 will go a long way.”
“This feels so awesome,” said Brandon Ibe. “We put so much effort into this. We were one of the smaller schools and we worked hard to stay on top.”
“We were able to blow past the big schools,” said Zach Sorenson. “Even a town as small as we are, we were able to connect with our community. It’s a good feeling knowing that our community reaches beyond the boundaries of just Iola and Scandinavia.”
All the students agreed that initially they did not think they would win.
“If it was not for Mr. Lund, we probably would not have won,” said Emily Bonikowske. “Mr. Lund was always encouraging us. We would not have been as motivated without him.”
“Then, seeing us in the lead, made us work that much harder,” she said.
“It’s a great feeling seeing our communities do something like this,” Sorenson said.
According to Cellcom, the purpose of Project Innovate is to bring the latest and greatest technology to schools, and to show a firm commitment to giving back to the communities they serve. Children and education are their top priority when it comes to corporate social responsibility and they believe that providing the latest in technology to students and teachers will inspire innovation, enhance learning and increase academic achievement.
“The $20,000 will be used to purchase wireless equipment for the elementary school,” said Anderson. “This will be a great start to the long-range plan to have a one-to-one technology program at the elementary school.”
“In this day and age of limited resources I want to thank Cellcom for giving back to schools through Project Innovate,” added Dyb. “The funds will definitely assist us in moving forward with our technology upgrades that are essential to providing our students with the best educational opportunities possible.”