Hy-Vee is commemorating its anniversary by awarding a total of $750,000 to schools in the Midwest through its Smiles for Education program.
Customers nominate their favorite schools and students for a Smiles For Education award. Each week during a 10-week period, Hy-Vee randomly selected 10 winners � one from each of 10 geographic districts � and presented a check for $7,500 to each school's general education fund.
The students named on the winning entries received Apple iPod portable music players.
Any K-12 school, public or private, in Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Minnesota was eligible for the program.
Last week was Jolley Elementary's turn. The school was selected a winner in the Smiles for Education program, and Principal Bob Bowker was presented a check totaling $7,500 by Brent Yager, manager of Vermillion's Hy-Vee.
Yager also presented an Apple i-Pod to Thomas Walker, the Jolley School fifth-grader whose name was on the winning entry. He is the son of Brenda and Rick Walker, Vermillion.
"I'm just very proud to have a winning school here in Vermillion, which allowed me to award $7,500 to Jolley School," Yager said. "It's not very often that we have an opportunity to award something of this significance. It was lot of fun."
"The Vermillion School District has very outstanding support from the business community, and this monetary award by Hy-Vee is another example of the support that we enjoy and appreciate from the businesses," Mark Froke, superintendent of the Vermillion School District, said. "We receive a lot of support from Hy-Vee through its Character Counts program. Hy-Vee has taken that on as their project. It's one thing they've consistently supported."
"Character Counts," Yager said, "is just another example of how we've tried to participate at every level with the schools. We've also been active with the PTA and their activities."
Froke said Patty Rosdail of the Vermillion PTA stopped by his office, and alerted him to the Smiles for Education program. As the PTA president, Rosdail helped promote the Hy-Vee program.
"I have to give some credit to the PTA for promoting this as well," Froke said. "I know Brent Yager was really excited that the Vermillion School District was able to receive this."
Froke said the $7,500 awarded to Jolley Elementary will be used to purchase the Success Maker software program.
"This is a computer-based reading and math program that we had some federal Title funding identified for, but not quite enough," he said, "so we now have sufficient dollars to purchase this software program."
"This will benefit and serve all of the elementary kids in K-5," Froke added. "There's strong research behind it � the program is effective in increasing student achievement, so we're really excited now about being able to get that. It's hard to say when we would have been able to implement this had we not received this award."
"This is our way of celebrating a very special anniversary and saying thank you to the community and the families who support Hy-Vee," Yager said.