By Megan K. Mertz
On Tuesday, Dec. 10, U.S. Cellular representatives surprised the staff and students of two LCMS schools — Dubuque Lutheran School in Dubuque, Iowa, and Valley Lutheran School in Cedar Falls, Iowa — with checks for $25,000.
The two schools were among more than 4,000 elementary and secondary schools around the country to participate in the U.S. Cellular Calling All Communities contest. The 20 schools receiving the most votes during the three-week voting period each won $25,000 to use as needed.
“We were probably the smallest school to receive it,” said Linda Nudd, principal of Dubuque Lutheran School, which has only 35 students in its kindergarten through fifth-grade classrooms. “We were competing against high schools that had 1,000 students. Our God is an awesome God!”
“It was a districtwide effort,” explained Principal Glenn Rollins of Valley Lutheran School, which has some 200 students in kindergarten through Grade 12.
Both principals attributed the win to the support of parents, associated LCMS churches and members of the district in helping to spread the word via social media. This year, each voter could only cast one vote during the entire voting process.
“I know that we got votes from around the country,” Rollins said. “We’re in a long line of schools in Iowa District East to win this contest.”
Since 2010, five other Lutheran schools from the district have won the contest.
Dubuque Lutheran School will use the money for tuition assistance, a parking lot repair fund, new math curriculum, professional development and continuing education, new technology and increased marketing. Valley Lutheran School will use the winnings for its student scholarship fund and to purchase new technology.
Both schools will tithe a portion of the prize money. Valley Lutheran School will designate a portion to Camp Io-Dis-E-Ca, a camp and retreat center affiliated with the Iowa District East, while Dubuque Lutheran School will let each class decide how to donate a portion of the total amount.
“Since we were blessed, we want to share it with others, and that’s what God wants us to do,” Nudd said.