Ben Franklin Wins Better Schools Bonanza's $5K Check

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From left: Daily Voice President John Falcone, Daily Voice sales rep Donna Herman, Entergy's Jim Steets, Principal Patricia McIlvenny-Moore, parent Marlene Maccarrone, PTA President Diane Kness and Lakeland Superintendent George Stone. Photo Credit: Brian Marschhauser
Ben Franklin Elementary School is hoping to raise $80,000 for a new playground. Photo Credit: Brian Marschhauser

YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Ben Franklin Elementary School received a $5,000 check Monday as the winner of The Daily Voice’s 2012 Better Schools Bonanza.

Readers throughout Westchester County were invited to enter their local schools in the promotional contest until Oct. 29. Marlene Maccarrone’s entry for her son’s school was randomly selected among submissions for 131 Westchester schools.

“At first I thought, ‘Come on, I don’t win anything,’ ” Maccarrone said about hearing the news. “I was just very grateful we got the money for the school because we really needed it.”

The money goes to the school's PTA, which will donate it for a new school playground, according to Principal Patricia McIlvenny-Moore. The school has more than  600 students but only one playground, she said.

Ben Franklin raised $20,000 last year to build a new swing set as the first phase of the project. It hopes to raise an additional $80,000 to complete the playground.

“We already raised $4,400, and this now puts us around $10,000,” said McIlvenny-Moore.

The Better Schools Bonanza promotion, now in its second year, was sponsored by Entergy. Communications director Jim Steets presented the check to school officials before a gym full of excited third-graders.

“I think it’s the first time in a very long time I’ve stood in front of a large crowd and felt intimidated,” Steets said. “Hopefully this sparks even more donations. We’re very appreciative and grateful to be a part of it.”

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