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IC School gets water fountain refilling station with $1,000 prize money

  • Immaculate Conception students congregate in the gymnasium on Wednesday for an assembly to receive a $1,000 check for finishing in the top 10 of the UnityPoint Health "Imagine the Amazing" $25,000 online voting contest. Photo submitted

  • A $1,000 check is presented to the Immaculate Conception Elementary School in Charles City on Wednesday for finishing in the top 10 of UnityPoint Health's "Imagine the Amazing" $25,000 online voting contest. Photo submitted

By Kelly Terpstra,

Thank Mac the Wildcat and thousands of Immaculate Conception clicks — 41,199, to be precise.

Teachers, students, alumni and even the school mascot joined to produce a whole lot of computer clicks to help IC School break into the top 10 and win $1,000 in the UnityPoint Health “Imagine the Amazing” $25,000 back-to-school online voting contest.

“We worked very hard,” said IC Principal Laurie Field. “We had our mascot come out and make signs and stand outside and encourage parents to vote. We used Mac quite a bit and got him energized.”

Contest results were announced last month. The oversized novelty check arrived at the school Wednesday and was presented to faculty and students during an assembly at the private Catholic school in Charles City.

The money can be used toward enhancing the well-being of students, teachers and/or learning environments, according to UnityPoint Health’s website.

“It was awesome,” said Field.

Annawan Grade School in Annawan, Illinois, won the contest and was able to snare the $25,000 top prize with just over 196,000 votes. Schools that finished in the top 10 received a runner-up prize of $1,000 each. Immaculate Conception finished seventh overall, besting more than 2,600 K-12 nonprofit schools in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Other schools that received the runner-up prize of $1,000 were Don Bosco High School, Gilbertville; Louisa-Muscatine High School, Letts; South Tama High School, Tama; Highland Elementary, Riverside; Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn Elementary, Hartley; Mt. Olive Lutheran, Des Moines; as well as Jordan Catholic, Rock Island, Illinois; Seton Catholic, Moline, Illinois; and Nuestro Mundo, Monona, Wisconsin.

Once the word got out to vote, a buzz was created, which in turn brought the IC community together to make sure the school stayed in the top 10.

“I started to send the information out to the parents and the families and the kids and the church. Father Gary talked about it at Mass,” said Field. “We had a couple kids that created a board and every day they would update it. They’d get a group of kids to take a picture with it so we could post it on Facebook.”

Just what did IC do with the winnings from the contest?

Quench their thirst, that’s what they did.

School organizers, along with the parent-teacher organization, decided to purchase a new water fountain with a bottle-filling station. An old water fountain in the school had broken just before the online contest began.

“It decreases waste because we won’t have cups and things like that. They can just refill their water bottle,” said Field.

Field said there was a lot more achieved than winning money or finding an easier way to stay hydrated.

“The kids feel a self worth that they’re going to take better care of it because they helped get it and get it there,” she said.

“It really is a volunteer, everybody-chip-in, because this is our community, our church, our school,” said Field. “It makes a big difference.”