BELLFLOWER -- With about 52,000 votes, Bellflower Middle and High School has edged Redlands High in a no-holds barred competition for a $5,000 teacher breakroom makeover, courtesy of radio station 104.3 MYfm and furniture store Living Spaces.
Bellflower was nominated for the radio contest by biology teacher Tina Mansell, who sparked support across the 2,650-student campus as she and her colleagues promoted voting via emails, in the hallways and on the school website.
Redlands, with 2,300 students, kept pace with Bellflower for most of the contest. Supporters who registered emails with the station were allowed to vote five times a day per email address.
"It was back and forth, up and down, it was neck and neck all the way," said Mansell, who has taught at the high school for six years and in the District for 18. "We were behind near the end and then we came back. The last time I looked, we had about 52,000 votes."
The winner: Bellflower.
Roughly 135 teachers at Bellflower Middle and High School use the breakroom, a three-room suite with a small lounge, a kitchenette and a copy/mail room. The lounge is populated with antiquated couches, a smattering of end tables and a couple of ancient coffee tables.
"Congratulations for a great team effort,” said Superintendent Dr. Brian Jacobs.
Mansell said she is awaiting delivery of the prize, a Living Spaces gift card. She said the breakroom is in desperate need of attention.
"It's pretty dated," she said. "Some of that furniture has been in there for at least 20 years. The couches aren't falling apart, but they look like 1970s doctors' office couches. It needs to be updated for sure."
Still, Mansell said the victory came at a price.
"I told all my students that if we won, we'd have a party the day before winter break. So now I get to have five parties that day."