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November 4, 2009 > Irvington High leads 'America's Favorite School'

Irvington High leads 'America's Favorite School'

By Miriam G. Mazliach

There is still time to help Irvington High School claim the title of 'America's Favorite School,' and secure the $20,000 top prize. The winning school will be announced after November 8, when the contest is scheduled to end.

Currently, Irvington is leading the vote count of this nation-wide contest, sponsored by Care2.com, a popular online site for people who are concerned about children's issues and the environment. The other contest sponsor, GreatSchools.net, is a nonprofit organization that inspires parents to become involved with education.

In addition to the $20,000 grand prize, Care2 will also award a total of $11,000 to the four runner-up schools. A weekly prize of $500, will be given by Care2 to one of the schools, chosen at random. The contest website is www.AmericasFavoriteSchool.com.

Involvement in the competition came about through the initiative of Alex Wang, a junior at Irvington High School.

"Alex Wang came to see me a while ago and told me that he had found this interesting contest online," says Principal Pete Murchison. "We went to the website on my computer and I noticed that at the time Irvington High School already had 400 votes and was in 15th place."

"I spoke to the Associated Student Body (ASB) organization about getting the word out," says Murchison. "We put information on the marquee, informed the school district to put information on their website and our school website, sent notices, told parents, and utilized our phone tree. We even had Alex Wang make public address announcements during our Daily Bulletin."

Wang adds, "It is only with the support of the students, faculty and the community and through the guidance of Mr. Clint Johns and Principal Murchison, that we could have reached first place with nearly six thousand votes. The $20,000 would greatly help to improve our school student activities and facilities. I am grateful for everyone's cooperation and support."

To spread the word, Wang says he encouraged friends to use social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to tell their friends and contacts to vote.

Murchison is thrilled that Irvington is currently in first place. "This is amazing as Fremont is a relatively small community competing with much larger school districts from New York," says Murchison. "By the comments of people voting in the contest, you can tell they recognize how proud we are of Irvington."

Pooja Shah, a senior at Irvington agrees, "I think it's remarkable, when told that Irvington is in the running for being 'America's Favorite School,' a majority of people don't even bat a lash. They understand and what's more, completely agree with this title. To me, Irvington has been a place that provides opportunities for its students to grow, and I will always support it as one of the best schools in the nation."

Service Learning Coordinator at Irvington, teacher Scott Lewis states, "What sets us apart is that our students know what service learning is as opposed to community volunteering. Most schools have difficulty getting students to volunteer, but our students perform the highest level of service learning. That's what makes us a great school. Our students are an asset, and not a drag, to the community."

According to Principal Murchison, "Winning $20,000 would be a huge amount of money for us; it's close to one-fourth of what we run the school on in a year."

Murchison and Wang both agree that if Irvington wins the top prize, they would like the ASB and the 70 different student groups represented to determine how the money should be spent.

"Our students have done really well academically and we trust the kids", says Murchison. "They will spend the money wisely and know what the school needs. This teaches them that hard work pays off."

"If you want to be successful in life, I believe you must take control of your own destiny," says Murchison. "Education is important as well as being proactive and making things happen."

To help Irvington High School achieve its goal, you can vote, until November 8, by logging on to www.AmericasFavoriteSchool.com.

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