During the recent School Days Competition at Chick-fil-A on Reynolds Road in Bryant, Westbrook Elementary School was named victorious.
Due to the win, the school received a certificate for $1,000 in free food and a check for $1,500. The win was announced Monday to students with the help of representatives from the restaurant and the Chick-fil-A cow.
Principal Meghann Donaldson told students that the school's parent teacher organization has been raising money to build an outdoor classroom. With the money from Chick-fil-A, the organization has reached its goal.
Second-grade student Madison Moseley said she was happy about the win.
"We will have fun in it (the outdoor classroom)," she said.
Donaldson said all of the students and staff are "thrilled" about the win.
"A playground pavilion will provide a sheltered place for students to gather and play during their recess. This area will also be very valuable as an outdoor classroom space. When the playground is not in use, classes can use this space for hands-on learning activities," Donaldson said giving examples of a messy or loud science or musical lesson.
She said research shows that having the opportunity to learn outside increases student engagement, as well as provides an increase in focus and concentration when students return to the traditional classroom after an outdoor lesson.
Westbrook Elementary School was the smallest school in the competition with only 342 students. The school was also the only one competing that was located more than 10 miles from the restaurant, Donaldson said.
"I heard lots of good things about Westbrook Elementary, but I also heard they were too small," said Scott Hill, operations director for the restaurant. "You all proved yourselves to be the David-versus-Goliath. You guys took down the big dogs."
During the competition, customers would mention what school they wanted to benefit. The amount of the order would go toward each school's total, Hill explained to The Saline Courier.
The business decided to host the contest as a way to give back to schools, he said.
"Schools are one of our biggest supports," he said.
Along with Westbrook Elementary School winning, each school that received a threshold amount also received a credit for free food.
The restaurant gave away in excess of $7,000, Hill said.
Every school, both public and private, in Saline County had the opportunity to take part. About 30 schools participated.
The business plans to host the competition again next fall.
"I am very grateful for the generosity of Mr. Guy Parker and the crew at the Reynolds Road Chick-Fil-A. The School Days Competition is a wonderful way to give back to our local schools," Donaldson said.