winning $500,000 in Kohl's department store's national Facebook school-improvement contest. Kohl's made the announcement today, confirming that the tiny 111-student school had beaten out more than 100,000 others from around the country in winning its share of a $10 million pot.
Each school had to tell how it would use its winnings, and then get supporters to visit Kohl's Facebook page and vote for their project. The top 20 vote-getters would each get $500,000. Some 11 million votes were cast nationwide, and the Jewish Day School came in No. 11. It plans to use the money to upgrade its technology, buy new computers, upfit a science lab and even buy its first school bus.
The school went all out with its campaign, staging a "Vote-a-Thon" for alumni and friends, making up T-shirts, and getting help from prominent Charlotte social networkers who spread the message to thousands of their contacts on Facebook and Twitter. Principal Mariashi Groner thanked volunteers, saying they worked non-stop during the seven-week campaign. "Sometimes in a smaller school, there's more determination," she said. "We're absolutely thrilled. Euphoric ... It's going to make a big difference to our school."
According to Kohl's Facebook page, the next highest-ranking N.C. school in the contest was Liberty Preparatory Christian Academy in Mooresville, which finished 39th. Here in Charlotte, New Life Christian Academy School of the Arts finished 274th, and Mallard Creek High finished 494th.