Area schools receive 'A' for effort

Published 7:28 am Wednesday, April 20, 2005

By by Tim Cottrell
Twenty-two schools from across the area rocked the month of March away.
United Bank's second annual Rocking Chair Contest was held through the month of March, as children fifth-grade and younger spent the month decorating their chairs.
United Bank sent out the chairs during the first week of March, and students had until March 31 to complete the project. Three schools from the Atmore area – Huxford Elementary, Rachel Patterson Elementary, and Escambia Academy – participated in the event, as well as Bay Minette Elementary and three schools in the Flomaton area.
The chairs were picked up April 5, and after judging last week the only area school to place was Bay Minette Elementary, who tied for third place with Frisco City Elementary. The school's PTA program will receive $100 from United Bank.
Elberta Elementary finished first place in the event, and will receive $1,000 to its PTA program.
Diana Gillam of United Bank said the contest was even more successful than the previous year.
"We had 22 schools that participated in all the counties that we have branches in," Gillam said. "This is the second year we've done this and we had one more school participate. We thought all the chairs were great and we were glad we didn't have to judge them."
That job went to art instructors from Jefferson Davis Community College, Faulkner State Community College, and Alabama Southern Community College.
Vikki Day Faessel, art instructor at Escambia Academy, was excited to see United Bank promoting the arts.
"We outstandingly enjoyed it," Faessel said. "I'm excited that United Bank is promoting the arts. Kids need it."
Faessel and four of her fifth-grade students – Katelyn Chastang, John Everett, Wesley Sirmon, and Thomas Moore – spent several weeks, including their Spring Break, finishing up their chair, which they entitled "Life is a Chair of Whimsies."
"We called it that because whimsy is light-hearted and fun," Faessel said. "The reason behind it is that at this age, kids can be happy one hour or sad the next, and it can be a difficult time for them. They're so talented, and they really enjoyed the patterns."
Faessel also felt her group should have won the competition.
"I thought ours was the best one out there," Faessel said.
Gillam, who is currently filling in for the recently departed Temple Hayles as public relations coordinator for United Bank, said the bank had plenty more projects in mind for local schools.
"On April 26 we're doing 'Teach Children to Save Day'," Gillam said. "We're going to the schools with moonjars to teach children to save money. It's important to teach that at a young age."

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