Washington High wins $30K semifinals prize for Innovation Center

Washington High wins $30K prize for Innovation Center

Big things are happening at Booker T. Washington High School. The school's library, now known as the Innovation Center, was recently featured in a video contest.

On Tuesday, officials with the Follett Challenge named the school as a semifinalist in the national contest, which includes a big payday.

Washington High at first won $8,000 after coming in 10th place during the challenge's vote portion.

Out of more than 500 entries judges selected Washington High and an elementary and middle school are semifinalists.

Each school won $30,000.

The school's center is waiting to see if they can take home the grand prize.

The former library has tranformed into a space with more than just books.

Alisha Wilson, the Innovation Center specialist said, "When I first talked about taking this job with my students they told me how libraries were really lame and I thought if a place full of books and knowledge is considered lame by this generation we've got to change that mindset."

Wilson runs the center with the help of Maddie Mae Sasse, an 18-year-old senior.

Sasse said, "Everything that this library has become did not just happen here. It happened through teachers, it happened through the students. Everyone is involved in how amazing this library has come to be."

Sasse shot and edited the video.

"While we knew we have a great program and we're so proud of it, knowing that someone else sees that and acknowledges that and is going to reward that was just the best feeling," Wilson said.

Wilson doesn't know how they'll spend the prize money, but technology and programs that will help the students succeed are at the top of their list.

They want the Wildcat community to be a part of that decision.

"Ms. Wilson and I, we really sensed a new sense of community with this, with this whole entire contest so win or lose that was like my favorite part was just the whole school coming together," Sasse said.

Judges are reviewing the final three entries.

The winner of the $60,000 prize will be announced next month.

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