I have many fond memories of the school I attended from Kindergarten through 5th grade.

I remember the really cool giant cube we had in Kindergarten that had different things to learn on each side. A zipper, some buttons, the shoe laces.

I remember doing SRAs in 2nd grade and collecting Boxtops when it was actually the entire box TOP and not the little square we all know now.

I remember being accepted into the TAG program and realizing that the harder we work, the more we learn.

But there’s one thing that I remember that had nothing to do with learning. It was a gift I received each year. A box of pencils with my name on it. Whether it was from the school or our teachers or the parents, I don’t know… guess I should ask my folks. What I do know is that each student received an identical box personalized with our names.

It was so cool that I never wanted to use mine.

Now, things are entirely different.

– We have a brand-spanking new school in our district that sits empty because there aren’t enough funds to staff it.
– Each school year starts out with all the parents buying supplies but not just notebooks, pencils, folders and glue. We’re asked to purchase things like facial tissue, dry erase markers and erasers, anti-bacterial wipes, hand sanitizer and even post-its. We’re also asked to donate items for awards – in the younger grades, they’re called treasure box items. The teachers put together wish lists of games, books and other supplies and parents can pick from the wish list what they want to donate.
– I’ve heard of schools in our area who are facing shut down because the state is behind on tax distributions to the school districts.
– Websites like DonorsChoose.org and Adopt-a-Classroom have sprung up to help teachers deal with budget shortfalls.

And why is it that NBC is doing a reality show to “makeover” a bunch of schools?

The reason basically comes down to money – or in this case, the lack thereof.
That’s exactly why companies have stepped up their efforts to help out. The latest is “Our School Needs” by Bing. From now until October 22nd, students and teachers can upload their entry about why their school needs help. There will be a $50,000 prize to the winner of each of three categories. Yes, $50,000 for each of these groups: K-6, 7-9 and 10-12. To top it off, the grand prize winning entry will take away $100,000 for their school.

There’s a rating process so putting together an inspiring, creative and informative entry is essential, as is spreading the word about your entry!  The first goal is making it to the next step where the field is narrowed down to a group of finalist. The entry deadline is October 22nd and voting for the finalist will begin on October 27th!

If your school has a need for whatever, consider entering.  It doesn’t hurt to try.  For questions, check out their FAQ or if you need help with how to enter, watch this video. So get cracking to try to win something for YOUR school!

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