“We are so glad for this once-in-a-career, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Roy Bliss, principal of Iola Roberts Elementary School.
Iola Roberts and two other schools were selected at random from more than 7,300 eligible entries. Each school received 250,000 eBoxTops, the equivalent of $25,000, to be used for educational needs. In addition to the eBoxTops, each school also received a product donation from the Kleenex brand to keep each school stocked with Kleenex facial tissue for the duration of the 2013-2014 school year.
“This is miraculous – a blessing from the Lord,” Bliss said. “And it is thanks to Jason Castleberry, a graduate of Pell City High School who has worked as a substitute teacher, teacher assistant and volunteers countless hours to this school. He helps the teachers, students, office staff – whoever he can. He submitted us into the Kleenex contest and other contests as well. This is a community stakeholder in action for their school. To say ‘thank you’ is an understatement.”
Castleberry said he submitted the school for several contests.
“I’ve never won anything before,” he said. “This is great. I did it for you because you deserve it.”
Gov. Robert Bentley, who visited St. Clair County Thursday, was unable to attend the assembly, but issued a Certificate of Recognition to the school that stated, “On behalf of the citizens of Alabama, it is my privilege to award this certificate for your outstanding accomplishments. Truly, you have upheld the fine tradition of excellence established at Iola Roberts Elementary School and your exemplary character serves as a role model for the youth of Alabama. May I take this time to offer you my congratulations.”
Michael Barber, superintendent of Pell City Schools, attended the assembly with Pell City Board of Education Chairwoman Tammie Williams and board members Joe Sawyer, Cecil Fomby and Laurie Henderson.
“We are so proud of the Iola Roberts faculty, and especially Jason who took the time to help his school,” Barber said. “Great things happen when people get involved and go the extra mile to invest in their school. This is one example of what one person can do when they take the time to get involved, and we want to especially thank Jason for taking the initiative.”
Fourth-grade student Jason Northcutt said he collects Box Tops for the school.
“We have contests to collect the most Box Tops, so I try to get my parents to buy products with the Box Tops on them,” he said.
When asked how he felt about winning the Kleenex sweepstakes, Jason gave two thumbs up.
Lauren Dutton, also a fourth-grade student, said it feels good to win the contest.
“It will help the school out a lot,” she said. “The teachers can get more school supplies like paper if they need it.”
Lauren said she brings a lot of Box Tops to school.
“I think it’s a good program because it helps schools,” she said.
Bliss said the school typically receives about $700-$800 each year through the Box Tops for Education program.
“That is about 7,000-8,000 Box Tops,” he said. “The money goes into the general office account, which is not earmarked for specific purchases as so much other funding is. This is extra money with flexible spending options.”
Bliss said the school holds contests with monthly and yearly totals for Box Tops collected by each classroom.
“We have a variety of prizes for the winners,” he said.
Bliss said Box Tops are on many products, including Kleenex, and he encouraged the entire community to participate in the program.
“You don’t have to have a child in school,” he said. “You can give it to your relative’s child or friend’s child or the school itself. Each Box Top point is worth 10 cents, which adds up.”
Contact Elsie Hodnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.