Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

School Reads Labels It's Merchandise for Assumption

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

School Reads Labels It's Merchandise for Assumption

Article excerpt

Byline: Sandy Strickland, Times-Union staff writer

Anne Marie McGowan stepped into a Plexiglas booth topped with a giant Campbell's chicken noodle soup can.

The suspense mounted. The countdown began: 3, 2, 1. Then a switch was flipped, and dozens of labels spewed into the air in a frenzied swirl.

Blonde ponytail bouncing, the Assumption Catholic School seventh-grader tried to grab the elusive labels. An auditorium full of students clapped, cheered and pumped their arms in encouragement.

Thirty seconds later, the 12-year-old stepped out, clutching a handful of hard-won labels to be redeemed for free merchandise.

It was part of festivities held last week to honor the Southside parochial school for turning in 1 million Campbell product labels, more than any other school in the state. Assumption also was recognized for participating in Campbell Soup Co.'s "Labels for Education" program for at least 20 years.

Last year, Assumption redeemed the labels for computers, printers, software, basketballs and other athletic equipment.

"It's a way for schools with stretched budgets to get items they couldn't otherwise get," said Anne Pizarro, who runs the program for the Camden, N.J.-based company.

Campbell began the program in 1973. Currently, 80,000 public and private schools are participating, Pizarro said.

At last week's assembly, the Campbell Kids, the company's logo characters, helped students celebrate their achievement. And company representatives tossed Campbell dolls and T-shirts into the outstretched hands of exuberant students.

The company also donated 600 cans of soup to the parish's St. Vincent de Paul Society, a Catholic lay agency that provides emergency services to residents with special needs.

Assumption had some help in collecting its record number of labels last year, said Principal William Howes. …

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