St. Margaret School asks for votes in national contest

Students, parents and staff at St. Margaret School in Bel Air are urging everyone to vote for them in a national contest for the chance to win $50,000 that will go toward technology in the classroom.

The Clorox Company's Power a Bright Future contest will give the school that receives the most votes $50,000, with $25,000 going to the second place winner.

"If they [St. Margaret's] were to win this money," St. Margaret parent Kim Sanschagrin said, "it would just totally enhance their education experience."

There are more than 2,500 nominees in three categories: explore (technology), create (arts) and play (playgrounds and sports).

As of Tuesday afternoon, St. Margaret's was ranked No. 11 in the explore category and, if they win, will spend the prize money on purchasing interactive whiteboards for the classroom.

A total of 43 schools in the state are nominated for the contest, and St. Margaret's is not only the only school from Harford County, but also the highest ranking statewide.

Clorox is a worldwide consumer products company, best known of the eponymous household bleach. The Oakland, Calif., based company has had a longtime presence in Harford County, where Clorox has a manufacturing facility in Perryman and a regional distribution center in Aberdeen.

Through Dec. 19, anyone 13 years old and older can vote at once a day for the school, or text keyword 2329pbf to 95248 to vote. Message and data rates may apply.

The school's nomination page states that "technology is an area the administration wants to advance to prepare students for the future."

"In every class," the page details continue, "one way or another, technology is involved. Whether it is using laptops or the teacher using projectors to teach a lesson, technology plays a big part in our school lives."

Sanschagrin, mom of third graders Madison and Mackenzie, said the school has six interactive whiteboards it was able to purchase through previous fundraisers.

"We need quite a few more," she said, adding that one whiteboard costs around $2,000.

To enter the contest, students wrote a brief essay explaining what the school is about, what it would do with the money and submitted a photo that represents the school.

The photo, which can be viewed on the contest website, portrays students in their uniforms laying on the ground in the form of a peace sign.

With one week left to vote, the school is doing everything it can to get the word out and gather support.

"I've handed out so many fliers I can't even count," Sanschagrin joked.

The St. Margaret's family has contacted different media outlets, have visited local businesses asking them to vote, reached out to co-workers and neighbors and have posed for photos with well-known locals, such as Harford County Executive David Craig, urging people to vote. Craig recently posed for a promotion photo with Madison and Mackenzie Sanschagrin.

"Kids are already exposed to so much technology as home and in the community that having technology in the classroom will make it an exciting and engaging environment," Sanschagrin said.

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