Jackson teacher's letter wins big prize for school

By Jamel Major - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

JACKSON, TN (WMC-TV) - I.B. Tigrett Middle School in Jackson TN is one of 20 schools across the country that has won $8,000 for school supplies.

It happened after Sharon McIlwane, a math teacher at the school, submitted the winning entry to Walmart's nationwide "Write to Change the Classroom" program.

The school won based on McIlwane's inspiring letter. She wrote pleading for the basic school necessities for her classroom and students, saying "about my school: we are over 50 years old, we have no air conditioning in the gym and some bathrooms while 88% of our students are on free or reduced lunch."

She also told the company the grant would "make a life-changing difference, that is for sure," and asked "in this time of financial drowning in our society, will you be their life preserver?"

Walmart created the program to award $160,000 to 20 schools across the country based on letters written by parents, teachers and students about their school supply needs.

"We would like to see changes in local schools, and make sure teachers have the funds available to institute new programs and purchase supplies and computers for the classroom to help with the children's education," Wal-Mart's Tom McAloon said.

McIlwane will receive a money card worth $8,000 on Thursday.  Half will go to her classroom, while the other half will go to her school.

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