New York - Samsung's Four Seasons of Hope philanthropic initiative gave away $1 million in technology products, software, and educational programming and grants to 21 schools this afternoon.
With help from its partners, Best Buy, Microsoft, DirecTV and New York Giants' quarterback Eli Manning presented the grand prize -- a $210,000 technology package -- to Capistrano Valley High School in Mission Viejo, Calif., during ceremonies at the Samsung Experience showroom at the Time Warner Building, here.
The finalist schools were nominated by parents, students, teachers and principals, who were among more than 7,500 people to submit essays online about how their favorite school would benefit from improved technology tools in the classroom. A panel of expert judges, including TWICE editor in chief Steve Smith, narrowed the field to the 21 finalists, and Capistrano Valley High School and its nominating essay written by parent Wendy Harder were voted the best by more than 200,000 public online votes.
"My success as a football player is tied to the excellent education I received," said Eli Manning. "I am proud to partner with Samsung's Four Seasons of Hope education initiative to give those same opportunities to students across the U.S. Now more than ever, it's important to remember that a little hope can make a big difference."
The million-dollar giveback echoes findings from a recent survey, Samsung's National Tech in The Classroom survey, that revealed 77 percent of Americans think the K-12 schools in their communities lack the technology access needed to help kids succeed in the 21st century. Respondents to the survey further named technology teaching tools among the top three needs for companies to support in local classrooms.
"We know that too many schools in our country do not have the technology tools they need to best teach our children, and today's million-dollar giveaway through Samsung's Four Seasons of Hope and with our partners Best Buy, Microsoft and DirecTV is our effort to help address the technology and learning gaps in our country," said David Steel, strategic marketing executive VP for Samsung Electronics America.
The first-place school wins $210,000 in cutting-edge Samsung products, Microsoft software, DirecTV educational television programming, cash grants, Best Buy @15 gift cards and a classroom assistant dog. Fifteen first-place winners receive similar $50,000 prize packages, and the five second-place winners receive $10,000 Best Buy @15 gift cards. In addition, the nominating essayist for each school will receive a Samsung Go netbook for submitting a winning essay.
To learn more about Samsung's Four Seasons of Hope initiative, visit
or the Four Seasons of Hope Facebook fan page at