When the clock finally ran out Friday in the Kohl's Cares Facebook contest, Mt. Ellis Academy stood tenth on the leaderboard. The contest offering $500,000 to each of the top 20 schools now enters the judging phase during which the votes for the top 20 will be audited to legitimize the results. Official results will appear online some time near the end of September.
For now, the faculty at Mt. Ellis Academy and all those who promoted the school can celebrate a fairytale-like ending to a story with numerous twists.
Mt. Ellis has always been a long-shot candidate for the win. A small Adventist high school with only 70 students in a small Montana city, MEA competed with much larger schools from across the country. As word of the school's involvement began to spread through social networks, the school slowly climbed into contention. However, up until the very end of the contest, nothing was entirely certain. Mt. Ellis changed ranking nearly daily as votes poured in. School staff spent long hours making contacts and encouraging participation in the contest.
The contest for a time united Adventists around the world in a common cause.
In the end, Mt. Ellis climbed to its highest ranking of the contest's duration, and now seems assured of the large cash prize that falls to the winners, pending verification of the results.
According to a screen capture from former Mt. Ellis Academy visual media teacher Craig Hadley, the school finished with 144,006 votes, a pleasant irony for Adventists interested in numerology.
Screen capture taken at approximately 10:30pm on Sept. 3.
In a phone conversation with Spectrum, MEA director of development and alumni relations Kevin Emmerson noted that Sabbaths provided the only times of respite from the contest participation's hectic schedule. With the contest finally ending on a Friday evening, this Sabbath may be especially sweet after the countless hours of work that has gone into this victory.
Mt. Ellis Academy representatives say the money from the contest will go toward long-overdue repairs on the school's sewage system, which was built some time around 1960.
Congratulations are in order for Mt. Ellis Academy and all those who rallied around the school.
A message from MEA principal Darren Wilkins:
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/2635