Maureen Holt has taught for the Humboldt Unified School district for the last 25 years and is a huge football fan. Holt was scrolling on Facebook one day when she came across a chance to win free tickets for the Fiesta Bowl from the event’s official page. Having never gone to a bowl game before, she decided to give it a try and once Holt checked out the website, she saw a “Wishes for Teachers” link.
“I thought ‘oh I’ll click on that and see what it is,”’ Holt said.
Holt discovered the link was a contest for a $5,000 dollar grant from the Fiesta Bowl to either help the school or a teacher’s classroom. She decided to throw her hat in the ring and write an essay stating how the money would help the school afford a brand new sound system for the over 50-year-old gymnasium.
A month later, Holt would receive a phone call during her lunch period. Being an unfamiliar number, she didn’t answer the call but when Holt checked her voicemail later it was a message from the Fiesta Bowl "Wishes for Teachers" committee stating she was one of 100 winners out of nearly 2,500 applicants that would be receiving a grant.
“We were like ‘Oh my gosh,’” Holt said remembering she was sitting next to her instructional specialist at the time. “I just wrote a big long story on how we really needed a sound system and it would really benefit our school and they picked it so I was so excited.”
The good news was immediately shared on the Humboldt Elementary and district official page receiving positive comments from parents and the community.
“Parents are so excited because they know it’s a desperate need here,” Holt said.
The need for a new sound system was a wish for many at the school for a long time. Holt recalls the current sound system cuts out during speeches, school plays and assemblies. Additionally, the school still utilizes a dual-cassette player for music; which is far outdated when compared to the technology found today.
The money provided the boost needed for the school to make a much desired upgrade as Holt mentioned the school had previously received a grant a few years ago but it was not enough to fix the sound system. So the money was just sitting in the bank as the district waited for the perfect opportunity. Now, combined with the money accumulated through the “Wishes for Teachers” initiative, the school can finally afford a good sound system for the students at Humboldt Elementary and the Dewey-Humboldt community.
“We use our gym regularly,” Humboldt Elementary principal Lisa Uvila said. “It will just be a great accessory to our gym, and our assemblies, and it will just make it smoother and a lot easier for people to hear.”
Along with new speakers, Holt said the plan is to have a docking station so phones can be used for music as well as wireless microphones allowing the kids to avoid tripping over cords.
Holt mentioned the school is currently taking bids for the project and is trying to upgrade as much as they can. However, not all improvements will likely be completed with the current grant money but it is a project the school will continue to work on in the future.
While the grant money was exciting, Holt also was able to attend her first bowl game free of charge as she joined 99 other educators from across the state to watch the Baylor Bears beat the Boise State Broncos 31-12 at the Motel 6 Cactus Bowl on Tuesday December 27th, 2016 at Chase Field in Phoenix.