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U.S. Cellular gives Sunnyside teachers a boost in the classroom

Two Sunnyside teachers received the exciting news from U.S. Cellular that their classroom projects have been funded through the company's Calling All Teachers campaign.

For a second year, the wireless carrier partnered with philanthropic website DonorsChoose.org to fund $1 million in creative and impactful classroom projects submitted by public school teachers.

The local donation of $1,246 will benefit 49 students at two Sunnyside schools.

Sierra Vista Middle School received funding for 18 sets of books at the appropriate reading level for students. Pioneer Elementary School will benefit from funding for a variety of hands-on materials such as read aloud books, nutritional activities and puzzles.

One of those teachers, Billie Parke of Pioneer Elementary, thanked program officials while saying, "the tools that you have funded will help a variety of students at different learning levels and abilities learn new skills...I am extremely grateful for your funding of my project and I am looking forward to sharing the results with other teacher colleagues in my district."

Meanwhile, Sierra Vista Middle School teacher Misty Bak-Weeks acquired the funding for new books for her students.

"By the time my students get to me," Bak-Weeks' proposal stated, "they have already formed a pretty dismal viewpoint of reading and writing...With the novels I have requested, my students will be able to choose books that are at their reading level."

Throughout the state of Washington, U.S. Cellular funded 38 projects totaling $28,166 that will benefit more than 4,400 students.

U.S. Cellular focuses its giving on education and the pressing needs of schools. Lack of funding has caused many of them to eliminate critical programs and operate on limited resources. Calling All Teachers is one of the initiatives the phone company developed to offer schools help with these financial challenges.

"Teachers play a big role in the future of our children," said Joe Cabrera, director of sales for U.S. Cellular in Washington and Oregon. "We are glad to support them because we know they work hard to make every child's learning experience meaningful and fun."

Teachers across the country posted classroom projects that ranged from the basic to the technically advanced. Some asked for novels, bookshelves and calculators, while others requested LCD projectors, digital cameras and a TI Navigator system.

"U.S. Cellular's continued support of education is definitely making an impact in schools across the nation," said Charles Best, founder and CEO of DonorsChoose.org. "The company's donations from both last year and this year allow teachers to do more in the classroom, and our children reap the benefits."

U.S. Cellular made the commitment to invest millions in education during 2009-10 through its Calling All Communities and Calling all Teachers campaigns.

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