Feb. 26, 2017
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Outside the Box

Indicators: Nov. 02

November 2, 2011, 12:00 am

$228,473 is the amount of money New Mexico schools received from Box Tops for Education over the past school year.

$9,234 is the amount of money Santa Fe schools received from Box Tops for Education over the past school year.

"We’ve got a contest going right now: Every child in the school is supposed to bring in four box tops each, and then they get a jean day [where they can wear jeans instead of the school uniform]. Trust me; that, to them, is exciting."—Theresa Vaisa, principal, Santo Niño Regional Catholic School

It turns out that a secret decoder ring isn’t the best prize kids can get out of a cereal box.

Last school year, Pablo Roybal Elementary, a private school, raised the most money of any Santa Fe school—$2,200—through the Box Tops for Education program. Santo Niño Regional Catholic School came in second place with $1,023, which Vaisa says went to both classroom and playground supplies. The school comes up with various incentive programs to get kids to bring in the cardboard box tops—a system that seems to be yielding results.

“Our Box Top coordinator just walked in with about seven or eight, gallon, Ziploc bags full [of box tops],” Vaisa says. The school has gathered over 400 of them already this school year.

In 1996, cereal company General Mills started Box Tops for Education; in 2010, it celebrated $320 million disbursed to American schools. McCurdy School in Española raised more money than any other school in the state last year: $10,825. 

Carlos Gilbert Elementary School uses toys and stuffed animals as prizes for kids who bring in the most box tops, program coordinator Suzanne Webb says. The money goes to extra programs such as Carlos Gilbert’s Young Astronauts club, which has been meeting for 26 years to launch model rockets, in the service of both science and fun.


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