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Christina Scripps, Discovery Education

Jessica M. Graham, Belk

— Students Improve Local Communities and Receive Scholarships as Winners of Service-Based Competition —

Silver Spring, Md. (June 5, 2014) –Belk and Discovery Education announced today the winners of the 2014 Belk Service Learning Challenge, a competition designed to encourage students to apply the skills they learn in the classroom to real-life challenges and facilitate positive changes in their communities. The program, now in its second year, was open to students in grades 4-8 in participating states North Carolina, Alabama and Georgia. The winning teams will receive scholarships as well as a Belk prize pack. Grand prize winners were also surprised with in-school assemblies earlier this spring.

The following teams and projects were named this year’s winners:


  • North Carolina – Stoneville Elementary School (Piedmont Triad) – Team “Bullying Preventing 4” spread awareness on the dangers of bullying by creating videos that dramatized the book “Bully Bean” and shared it with their school and community.  In addition, they recorded an original song about the dangers of bullying. The students executed their project under the leadership of their teacher, Marsha Erskine. 
  • Alabama – Hewitt-Trussville Middle School (Birmingham) – Team “Trussville” created “All About Trussville,” an app that offers Trussville residents the opportunity to live chat, read local news, view a map of the city, and search nearby volunteer opportunities. Team “Trussville” executed their project under the guidance of teacher Amanda McIntosh.
  • Georgia – 4th & 5th Academy at Fifth Avenue (Atlanta) – Team “A Book for Everyone” collected books for the girls at The Global Village Project., which helps young, female refugees who have been relocated to Decatur, Georgia, and who are struggling with literacy and English proficiency.  Team “A Book for Everyone” was led by teacher Sandi Dennis.


  • North Carolina – Central Middle School (Dobson) – Team “Healthy Hornets” was awarded Second Place for tackling the issue of child obesity, under the guidance of teacher Matthew White.  Team “Healthy Hornets” pledged to help their school and community make healthy decisions by providing healthy after school snacks to students as they waited for their after school rides to arrive. 
  • Alabama – Hewitt-Trussville Middle School (Birmingham) – Team “To Save a Life” started a mental awareness project that encouraged members of their community who suffer from mental illness to seek treatment.  They also created various online support systems through different social media platforms. The team was also led by Amanda McIntosh, Team Trussville.
  • Georgia – Carmel Elementary School (Atlanta) – Team “Carmel Elementary School Beta Club” held a school supply drive to ensure that economically disadvantaged students receive the necessary supplies throughout the school year.  Team “Carmel Elementary School Beta Club” was led by teacher Merry Willis.

Each of the First Place-winning students will receive a $1,000 scholarship from Belk, with the Second Place winners receiving a $500 scholarship.  First Place-winning teachers will receive a $250 prize and the Second Place-winning teachers will receive a $100 prize.  In addition, all will receive a Belk prize pack.

“We value service learning opportunities such as the Belk Service Learning Challenge because it can help our students to see beyond the walls of our school,” said Sandi Dennis, Media and Instructional Technology Specialist, 4/5 Academy at Fifth Avenue. “Thanks to Belk’s commitment to encouraging positive change in the communities they serve, our students can now understand the importance of seeing a service project through to completion. They are beaming with pride and filled with gratitude for the prizes and scholarship money they received.”

“These students are shining examples of what a difference people can make when they want to. They focused on local issues and developed programs that will help the community in meaningful ways and we couldn’t be more proud of them,” said Jessica Graham, Belk’s vice president of communications and community relations. “Belk has been taking an active role in our communities since our founding almost 125 years ago, and teaming up with Discovery Education in this initiative gives us the chance to teach kids the importance of service and giving back.”

To supplement the efforts of these students in their service learning projects, dynamic online destination anchors the Challenge and equips 4th-8th grade classrooms with free, standards-based service-learning curriculum, including lesson plans and multimedia tools.

For more information on the Belk Service Learning Challenge or to view the free classroom resources, please visit


About Belk, Inc.

Charlotte, N.C.-based Belk, Inc. ( is the nation's largest family owned and operated department store company with 299 Belk stores located in 16 Southern states and a growing digital presence.  Its website offers a wide assortment of national brands and private label fashion apparel, shoes and accessories for the entire family along with top name cosmetics, a wedding registry and a large selection of quality merchandise for the home. Founded in 1888 by William Henry Belk in Monroe, N.C., the company is in the third generation of Belk family leadership and has been committed to community involvement since its inception. In the fiscal year ended Feb. 1, 2014, the company and its associates, customers and vendors donated more than $20.9 million to communities within Belk market areas.

Belk offers many ways to connect via digital and social media, including Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, Google Plus and Belk Blog, and provides exclusive offers, fashion updates, sales notifications and coupons via email or mobile phone text messages. Customers can also download the latest Belk mobile apps for the iPad, iPhone or Android.

About Discovery Education

Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content and professional development for K-12, transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content that supports the implementation of Common Core, professional development, assessment tools, and the largest professional learning community of its kind.  Available in over half of all U.S. schools and primary schools in England, community colleges and in 50 countries around the world, Discovery Education partners with districts, states and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that accelerate academic achievement. Discovery Education is powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world. Explore the future of education at