GET SCHOOLED, Comcast’s Internet Essentials Team Up to Inspire Thousands of Chicago Students

by Marie Groark, Executive Director, Get Schooled

This fall, Get Schooled partnered with Comcast’s Internet Essentials to create the Get Schooled Get Connected Challenge.   The Challenge engaged thousands of students in more than 48 community based organizations and high schools across Chicago with a goal of connecting students with digital content aimed at preparing them for college.  The most active students across the city earned a ticket to a star-studded celebrity event at Malcolm X College on Martin Luther King Day.

Get Schooled, formed five years ago by Viacom and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has engaged more than 5 million students across the country around their education.  Internet Essentials ( connected more than 22,000 Chicago households and more than 1.4 million people in the U.S. to the Internet.  Together, they delivered a platform of games, pop culture, recognition and rewards to motivate Chicago students to graduate from high school and prepare for college.

During the ten week challenge students at high schools, community based organizations and even the Chicago Public library were encouraged to get online and explore  Each time the students took a practice SAT question or explored college options or searched for a scholarship, they earned points.

The 1,700 Chicago students with the most points earned their way into a special star studded event.   Comcast awarded the highest performing schools and community based organizations $10,000 in cash and students earned laptops, Bulls tickets and swag from Viacom.

As  part of the celebration, the participating students were all rewarded for their efforts with a big performance, featuring Chance the Rapper, Christina Milian and MTV’s very own Sway Calloway. Sway opened up his inspiring speech by revealing, “A great education can transform a young person’s life like almost nothing else.”

“Opportunity is everywhere you look,” Christina Milian told students. “Don’t be afraid to say hi to people and talk to people, ask people for help.”

On her involvement with the campaign, Milian said,”It was exciting to be in Chicago to recognize students that are following Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s example through their dedication to their education and futures.”

Marie Groark is Executive Director of Get Schooled, which was co-founded by Viacom.

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