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Riverside Elementary wins $10,000 classroom makeover

Riverside Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Mindy Shaw wakes up the 3 computers in her classroom, Feb. 11, 2013.  Shaw says she never turns off the computers because it takes 40 minutes to warm back up. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Riverside Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Mindy Shaw wakes up the 3 computers in her classroom, Feb. 11, 2013. Shaw says she never turns off the computers because it takes 40 minutes to warm back up. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Mindy Shaw’s hands shook this morning as she waited to hear whether Riverside Elementary School had won the Great American Financial Services Classroom Makeover national contest and $10,000.

Not only did Riverside Elementary School win, “we won by a landslide,” said Shaw, who put forth a spirited effort to win money for the school’s antiquated computer lab.

Shaw entered the national contest on a whim. She wrote a 300-word essay about the school’s aged computer lab, took a picture showing a pile of computers in disrepair and sent it to the Great American Classroom Makeover contest.

The school landed one of 10 finalist spots out of 550 entries nationwide in the contest sponsored by Great American Financial Resources. The ultimate decision was up to an online vote, and the fifth-grade teacher, who is not a social networker herself, worked the phones, email and any other angle she could think of to encourage votes for Riverside.

Riverside – a district of about 1,700 students alongside the Little Spokane River, 35 miles north of Spokane – competed for the prize against schools in much larger districts such as Austin, Texas; Wilmington, Del.; and Detroit.



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