Golf District 67 celebrates Dream School Challenge win
Golf District 67 first-graders Edmond Bitew, Riley Roberts and Logan Alverez try out some of the furniture donated Nov. 27 during the assembly for winning the Dream School Challenge. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 7, 2013 6:14AM
MORTON GROVE — As cameramen walked around video taping an assembly at Golf Middle School, students from both Golf and Hynes Elementary schools jumped up and down, waived their arms and screamed wildly.
They were celebrating District 67’s win in the Dream School Challenge, an online contest sponsored by 02 Media.
Red and white streamers draped from the ceiling and the district’s Cardinal mascot joined cheerleaders to usher in the district’s special guests. During the presentation, the district was showered with prizes ranging from tablet computers to classroom furniture and an online art education program.
“This is a very, very special day, if you haven’t figured that out yet,” Superintendent Jamie Reilly said as the screaming quieted down. “This was a national contest we won. We are so excited.”
Reilly credited Mary Cunningham, who has three children at Golf, for helping the district win the contest.
Cunningham said she was searching for a yoga show on cable TV when she ran across “The Balancing Act” on Lifetime, a show produced by 02 Media.
“It sounded like a yoga show,” she said.
The discussion, however, wasn’t about yoga. The program detailed the Dream School Challenge, a contest that offered school districts throughout the country a chance to win tablet computers, furniture and other items.
“I thought maybe we should enter it,” Cunningham said.
Cunningham not only entered the district in the contest, but got parents and other district residents to visit the show’s website and vote for District 67.
She attended open houses and other school events to ask people to support the effort. Laptop computers were even set up so people could enter while at the schools. She also emailed the community asking parents to go to vote for District 67.
Cunningham said she didn’t think a small district like Golf had a chance in a national contest. At the same time, though, she knew it was something the district could truly use, particularly after two failed tax hike referendums and several years of program cuts.
“We definitely need these things in this school district,” she said.
Among the items the district won are 32 Kuno tablets, which are Android tablets designed for use in schools.
Prizes also included software for managing the tablets and a day of on-site professional development for teachers so they can better implement the devices in class.
Creativity Express Online presented the district with an online animated art course, which Reilly said is needed at Hynes, where an art program was dropped.
Randy Smith, who represented Virco Manufacturing Company, presented Reilly with a giant check for $10,000, the value of furniture the company is giving the district. He emphasized that the furniture is made in the United States.
“The product you’re receiving is not some import that’s not made very well,” he said.
Chris Cox, a representative of 02 Media, said a video of the event at Golf will be shown in about a month on “The Balancing Act.”
“A lot of schools tried out,” Cox said of the Dream School Challenge. “This district took it.”