Local homeowners in Salem, Danvers and West Roxbury came close, but it was the Powell family of Davis, CA that was named the winner of the Deck the House contest. But since the prize is $100,000 to Davis, CA schools, Kristy Powell doesn't quite see it that way.
“We all won,” she said. “There are a lot of needs at the schools. This is not going to fix it all, but it will help. This is a blessing.”
On Monday Powell was approached by a young girl at , where she teaches. The girl had an adorable suggestion for how the prize money should be spent.
"She said 'we need tether ball hooks,'" Powell said. And while that request is mostly just cute and innocent, it also carries some truth, according to Powell. "You want it to benefit the kids directly."
Davis jumped out to a massive lead the moment voting opened up, thanks to support from the and constant effort by the community, both online and on the streets.
Powell even had her kids and some of their friends hand out hundreds of flyers downtown. The divided up in two teams swept downtown. When they were done, they were treated to . And then they enjoyed the sense of accomplishment as the votes piled up shortly after.
Now that the contest is over and the Powell home has won, the family has begun to take down their lights. Excitement has consumed Kristy's Facebook wall as well as her home on Candy Cane Court.
“Neighbors came over with a bottle of Champagne,” Kristy Powell said. “And another family from Wildhorse just came over and said ‘Surprise!’ We had never met them.”
The family has even made friends with the family who came in second in the Deck the House contest.
"Joey Felix and his wife are wonderful and we are excited to get to know them better and exchange decorating advice with them," Powell wrote in a recent email. "Their display was breathtaking!"
While chatting with Jim and Kristy Powell at their home on Monday, I got a call from Superintendent Winfred Roberson, who later stopped by the Powells’ house to give a personal thanks. The families know each other through church.
"This is symbolic of the Davis community, their commitment to education," Roberson told me. "It just symbolizes how strong this community is."
Roberson also asked the Powells how they’d like to see the money spent, to which they said they trust the district's decision. Still, in a community where education carries such weight, the topic will surely come up again once the money is delivered, which will likely be in a few weeks.
Powell hopes this excitement will build momentum for Measure C so that Davis can “maintain our current outstanding academic programs.”
As the money is distributed and the district contemplates how it will be spent, we'll provide updates. For now, let’s congratulate the Powell family, and the community as a whole!