The kids had a choice: Would they prefer to see their principal and their gym teacher race down the hallway on scooters or fight each other in inflated sumo wrestler costumes?
Sumo wrestling prevailed. Kids were admitted for free (but getting a racing-or-wrestling ballot required turning in 25 Box Tops), and their parents – hundreds of them – paid a $2 admission fee. Adding in concession sales, the evening netted $1,000 to buy educational equipment.
It’s one of many ways in which H & M Potter Elementary School in Bayville, N.J., has kept the community actively involved in the Box Tops for Education® program. They hold monthly contests – some suggested by others, some of their own design. (“We like to keep it new, not do the same thing over and over again,” says the principal, Jeffery Z.) Contest winners are lavished with attention, as are the teaching tools bought with Box Tops earnings – interactive whiteboards, digital projector systems, etc. – in the school newsletter as well as at PTA meetings and other school events.
Bayville is a low-income area, and the parents have embraced the chance to contribute to their kids’ education through Box Tops. They hand in bags stuffed with Box Tops, and once a contest has ended they seek out Principal Z. for details about the next one. A parent employed by public works is known to dumpster-dive to retrieve unclaimed Box Tops. The school has gotten senior centers and other community locales collecting Box Tops on its behalf. In 2008-09, the school earned more than $7,800 from its participation in Box Tops for Education.
“In an era that we’re losing funding for programming,” Principal Z. says, “this is really critical for keeping the school afloat.”