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Lyndsey Grubbs, Discovery Education

Jessica M. Graham

— Students earn scholarships as they explore civic responsibility as part of the academic process —

— Middle school classrooms receive free, standards-based curriculum and multimedia tools to support development of research, communication and problem-solving skills —

Silver Spring, Md. (May 23, 2013) — Belk, Discovery Education and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) announced today the winners of the first ever Belk Service Learning Challenge. Designed to support educators, and based on research that students who participate in service learning initiatives demonstrate improved problem-solving skills and increased interest in academics, the challenge encourages middle school students to help improve their communities through undertaking a service-learning project of their choice.

Opened to all middle school students in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, N.C., Columbia, S.C., and Jackson, Miss, student teams worked with the support and guidance of a teacher/mentor to identify a community issue and create an action plan to solve the problem.

The grand prize winning team receives a $1,000 scholarship per student team member and a $250 teacher award. The second place team receives a $500 scholarship per student team member and a $100 teacher award. The winning teams also receive Belk prize packs for each student team member and teacher. All will be celebrated with a Belk in-store “service learning event” in the fall of 2013 showcasing the winning projects as well as kicking off the 2014 challenge.

“The Belk Service Learning Challenge and other programs that encourage students to identify problems within their schools and/or local communities are extremely valuable in the classroom because students become active participants in solving problems which will not only benefit them, but the entire school community,” said Kimberly Davenport, Principal, Main Street Restart Center, Hinds County Mississippi School District. “With programs like this, students are empowered and understand that they can make a difference in this world.”

The winners include:

North Carolina

1st Place:
Team: Student Advance Team from Neuse Christian Academy
Location: Raleigh, NC
Project Description: Working with Burmese (Karen) refugees in their area to help them with basic living needs and then help them find jobs.

2nd Place:
Team: Farm Swarm from John W. Ligon Middle School
Location: Raleigh, NC
Project Description: Embarking on a mission to change the lives of young girls through a day of fun self-esteem and friendship building activities.

South Carolina

1st Place:
Team: SAMS- Cheerleaders from St. Andrews Middle School
Location: Columbia, SC
Project Description: Performing random acts of kindness to spread cheer. Activities include a clothing drive, spa day for young girls in a battered women`s shelter, and Easter Egg hunt at a local day care facility.

2nd Place:
Team: McIntyres Mustangs from Muller Road Middle School
Location: Blythewood, SC
Project Description: Created “Students for Charity” organization to help needy members in the community one project at a time.


1st Place:
Team: The Eagles from Main Street Restart Center
Location: Bolton, Mississippi
Project Description: Created a plan to fight obesity in their state and community for all ages involving teachers and volunteers.

Providing student teams a second layer of support, a dynamic online destination at anchors the Challenge and equips middle school classrooms with free, standards-based service-learning curriculum, including lesson plans and multimedia tools.

“What an honor it is to see these middle school students identify local needs and then create programs that will strengthen their communities,” said Jessica Graham, Belk vice president. “At Belk getting involved and giving back are a part of our core values, and we hope that these students will leave this experience with a similar commitment.”

“Through their creative service learning projects, these amazing middle school students are making tremendous contributions to their communities while building valuable critical thinking and collaboration skills,” said ISTE CEO Brian Lewis. “ISTE is proud to honor them for their commitment to changing their communities and, as a result, making the world a better place for all of us.”

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 301 Belk stores located in 16 Southern states and a growing digital presence. 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. Each year, Belk gives a portion of its pretax income back to the communities it serves. In fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2013, the company and its associates, customers and vendors, donated more than $19 million to those communities. 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. To connect with Belk go to Belk Get Connected.

About Discovery Education
Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content 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, 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

About ISTE
ISTE is the premier membership association for educators and education leaders engaged in advancing excellence in learning and learning through the innovative and effective use of technology in PK-12 and teacher education. Home to ISTE`s annual conference and exposition and the widely-adopted NETS, ISTE represents more than 100,000 professionals worldwide.