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Three Schools Win Grants for Their Service-Learning Projects

Recently, Inter-State Studio & Publishing Company held their second Spreading Smiles Service-Learning Contest. Inter-State Studio provides high-quality and innovative school photography, yearbooks, memory books, and student planners to elementary, middle and high schools across the United States. A total of sixty-four schools from around the country competed for a chance to be awarded one of three grants of $750, $500, or $250 to enhance their service project. To qualify, K-12 classrooms who were currently participating in a service-learning project were asked to submit a photo to the Inter-State Studio Facebook page, as well as a description of their project.
Beginning on January 13,2014, the contestants’ peers, school communities, and local communities were empowered to vote for their favorite project at The three entries with the most votes were the recipients of one of the three grants offered.

The first place project, and winner of a $750 grant, was “Caring for Claire” by the Job for Montana Graduates Class at Helena High School in Helena, Montana. This group of students worked hard at raising money to help student Claire and her family with medical expenses. The JMG Class organized several successful fundraisers during the month of October. They sold Think Pink T-shirts, baked and sold pink cookies, held a silent auction, collected money at sporting events, and had students wear Halloween costumes for a donation to Claire. Lisa Parker, the Advisor for this project, said, “The grant will be a welcome surprise for Claire Stone and her family.”

The project finishing in second place and awarded a $500 grant, was “Kayak Clean-Up at Willow Lake” by a group of 8th grade students at Woodbine Community School in Woodbine, Iowa. The 8th grade students, led by Adam Cox, helped clean the aquatic portion of their local Willow Lake Recreation Area using kayaks. The event was supported by the local DNR. The target action of this group was to eliminate fishing line and other debris from the trees in the water and garbage from those areas of the shore line that are hard to reach from land. Similar projects are done each year as part of the Earth Science curriculum. These students learned a lot not only from working on their own service-learning project, but from other projects that were entered into the contest. Cox said, “We learned a LOT from reading the other entries. We will be looking to do some of the things other groups submitted in the coming year!”

Woodbine Community School was also the third place winner of a $250 grant, with their project “Reaching Out to Homeless”. The Financial Literacy Class at Woodbine Community School decided to help make a difference after watching “The Pursuit of Happyness”. Thirty-one 7th grade students and two teachers from Woodbine, IA traveled 90 miles round-trip to volunteer 2 hours of their time to help the Open Door Mission in Omaha, NE. Students worked in the Timberlake Outreach Center, which is a free thrift shop for those in need. The Center had recently suffered broken pipes and was closed. Students were able to help deep-clean the center, sweeping, scrubbing walls and shelves for fresh paint, sorting and hanging clothes, and moving portable walls. With the grant money, they plan to first reimburse the school for costs and then save money to do this again, possibly with next year’s 7th graders.

Aric Snyder, Jr., Marketing Director for Inter-State Studio, was thrilled with the response they received from the entries and their voters. “We created our Spreading Smiles Contest as a way to recognize and reward students and teachers for making a difference in their communities, and all over the country. We would like to thank all of our participants for their hard work and dedication to their projects and their communities.”


Congratulations to the winners and Thank You to all who participated!  Keep Spreading those Smiles!!!



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