October 22, 2010

Jefferson Lighthouse enters BING's $100,000 contest

Student narrates Jefferson Lighthouse's video entry in BING! competition

UPDATE, Oct. 29: OK, everyone, it's time to go back to Google. The finalists in BING!'s competition have been announced... and, sadly, the closest to us is Aquinas High School in LaCrosse. You can go here to see them all and vote, but no money will be coming to Racine, alas.

Original post:

Kathy Holley sent us the following note:
Well, we've had Pepsi Refresh and Kohl's, now here's the next online contest to make schools across the country compete for funds.  This one is sponsored by Bing and is called "Our School Needs..."

Schools submit and essay, photos, and an optional video illustrating what they need.  Guests to the site rate the entries.  The highest rated entries move on to the next round of voting.

Jefferson Lighthouse has submitted an entry, complete with a video produced by a parent and a teacher, featuring many of the school's kids.  You can see it here!

The teacher at Jefferson spearheading this effort is art teacher Julia Kopp.  The parent who produced the video and wrote the music for it is Richard Sosa.

Of course, any publicity would be welcome!  Better still would be a time in the future when schools didn't have to jump through corporate hoops in hopes of getting money for what they need.... sigh.
Sigh, indeed! What's our world coming to? Everytime Racine Unified announces a referendum, the cynics and naysayers come out of the woodwork. Of course, it doesn't help that the powers-that-be find ways around referenda to finance an administrative center... while still fine-tuning a potential $78 million school improvement/new building package ill-timed for an economic recession. (But if not now, when?)

So we must depend upon the charity of others. Mitchell Middle School was the first in Racine to get onto the contest bandwagon, winning $50,000 from the Pepsi Refresh project for classroom renovation. Alas, lightning didn't strike twice: when science teacher Kim Wendt tried to double-down, in a $500,000 contest from Kohl's, the school initially held its own, only to be overwhelmed (along with an entry from Knapp School) by schools that went so far as to offer iPads as vote-for-me prizes.

Now we have Jefferson Lighthouse Elementary School attempting to win $100,000 from Bing!, the search engine from Microsoft trying to unseat Google. (There's always an ulterior motive in these contests, donchaknow?) Bing! is offering $250,000 -- three $50,000 prizes and a grand prize of $100,000: "We want to hear from teachers and students about what their school needs most. Look around your school and think about how it would benefit from winning $100,000."

Yeah, like finding what's needed is hard at a school dating from 1899. (And, no, Jefferson is not RUSD's oldest school.) As Jefferson Lighthouse's essay points out, when it comes to technology "we're a few sandwiches short of a picnic."  The school's clever video will break your heart.

Oct. 26 is the last day voters can rate entries; already there are close to 400. If Jefferson makes the finalist cut, through viewer ratings, Nov. 5 is final day of voting. Winners, chosen by a panel of judges, will be announced on Nov. 9.

Again, here's where to go to rate Jefferson Lighthouse's entry, and share it via Facebook and Twitter.

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  1. How do we know that RUSD will not steal tis money too?

  2. I'm sure they would try! They need to tighten their belt big time, RUSD = Waste plus more waste!

  3. Jefferson Lighthouse School is marvelous! My kids went there and got a great and creative education in a beautiful diverse population of students. This school is one of many shining schools in Racine Unified.Let's get behind this fine project!

  4. No more nothing from me IMHO the stealing of the Green school money was the last straw! RUSD needs to be put down like a mad dog!

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