Area schools compete for $20,000 in national contest

By Melissa Correa - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - In a time of severe budget cuts, $20,000 goes a long way. Two area elementary schools are determined to get that money.  But they're competing against each other -- and 98 other schools nationwide.

Right now there's a race to find America's Favorite School.  The two schools representing Virginia happen to be in our area -- one in Chesterfield and another in Henrico.

"If you're a Henrico resident, vote for Colonial Trail,"said elementary school principal Phil Cantone.

The three-year old elementary school is one of two in our area competing for $20,000 in an online contest sponsored by

"We've seen our school climb from zero to number 44 now," he said.

The school entered the competition a week after it began and is now working to climb the list of 100.

"Anything's possible," said Colonial Trail parent Erin Sammons.  "If all the community would get behind it -- it's a great school and I would love to have community support."

Sammons is the one behind the contest.  She registered the school and is excited about using the money for an outdoor performance stage. The purchase of technology and playground equipment is also a possibility.

Across the metro-area, O.B. Gates Elementary in Chesterfield County is quickly rallying support.

"It will give us $20,000 to put directly into the classrooms," said principal Kasey Shane.

Budget cuts have stripped the campus to the core.  $20,000 would definitely be a silver lining.

"A plan book costs $16," said teacher Samantha McMillian.  "Teachers buy it all.  All the markers all the crayons all the things that don't come in that school supply list -- the teachers buy it.  Letting $20,000 slip out of Virginia would be just insane."

Right now Gates is in the top 10, but is thousands of votes from number one.

"If we don't get the help of our community, I'm afraid this $20,000 will end up in California or New York and I'm determined not to let that happen."

The competition ends Friday, May 21 at midnight.

To Vote- copy and paste into your browser:

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