After five full weeks of friendly competition two local schools are awarded $5,000 each in prizes from Grand Central Mall's Earning for Learning competition.
Criss Elementary School and Parkersburg Catholic High School are the big winners.
The unexpected surprise for Criss Elementary brings them one step closer to new bleachers.
"We received the new gym floor this summer and it looks great, but we have bleachers that are original to the school, I think and so we need to get new bleachers," says third grade teacher Julie Davis.
"So the kids really worked hard to raise that money."
Sophia's dad also helped the school raise money with Music in the Park.
"My dad sang in the park and we collected money for the bleachers and then we finally got to the point where we could get some -- some new bleachers," says Sophia, a student.
They've been working toward this since last year.
"This was a great surprise, yes. I knew we had encouraged everybody to take the receipts in and canned food and things like that, but we had no idea we were the first," says Principal Mary Vincent.
Parkersburg Catholic was completely caught off guard.
"Our school board and our administration will get together and talk about how we can best use these funds to make the most of this great donation," says Advancement Director Erin Augenstein.
It's all about school spirit for senior Payton Sturm.
"Always big if you go in for your school," Sturm says. "We have a small school atmosphere so we all try to rally together, especially when it comes down to this stuff, try to get a big joint effort."
This year, 97 schools from West Virginia and Ohio presented receipts throughout the competition.
For a complete list of official rules, breakdown of cash prizes and bonus point information, visit grandcentralmall.com.
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