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‘School Pride’ comes to Story by Sherry Posnick-Goodwin Much to the amazement of those who live and work in the small, rural town of Needles on the California-Arizona bor- der, the town’s high school was selected to receive a makeover on the NBC show “School Pride.” When the announcement was made to students in the football field, they cheered wildly while news helicop- ters buzzed overhead. In each episode of “School Pride,” a design team helps a community fix up a dilapidated school. The show has two criteria for selecting schools — a need for renovation and the community’s passion and commitment to do the work. Needles High School fit both categories. The show’s producers, who in- clude Cheryl Hines of HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” were also looking for a rural school, since many of the other makeovers were urban schools, such as Enterprise Middle School in Compton. While professionals are in charge of coordinating the renova- tion, the work is actually completed by volunteers. And Needles had plenty of those. “We have a communi- ty of 5,000 people, and more than 1,000 people volunteered,” says Nee- dles Teachers Associa- tion (NTA) President Ju- lie Rowan, a graduate of the high school . “We somet imes forget how much community sup- port we have, and we learned that support was huge.” The event sparked school pride, with alums who had graduated decades before working alongside their kids. NTA mem- bers painted, moved furniture, cleaned, and did whatever was necessary. “People who had never met each other had the opportunity to work side by side to Needles ABOVE: CTA President David A. Sanchez, and Needles Teachers Association President Julie Rowan wait at the community center for the big reveal. improve the physical condition of the school,” says CTA President David A. San- chez, who stopped by and met with chapter leadership, administrators and community members involved with the project. During the five-day project, Needles baked in heat that sometimes exceeded 115 degrees and experienced heavy winds. But that didn’t wilt the enthusi- asm of volunteers. CTA Board member Marty Meeden found scissors and cut his pants into shorts to make it easier to un- load a truck, clean and move a barbecue, and do other tasks. Other CTA Board members volunteering in Needles were Theresa Montaño, Mary Rose Ortega and LEFT: The hosts of NBC’s reality show “School Pride” (left to right): Susie Castillo, Jacob Soboroff, Kym Whitley and Tom Stroup. 16 California Educator | DECEMBER 2010 • JANUARY 2011 Photo by Marlene Karas/NBC

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