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Dunbarton Elementary School Receives $3000 Health and Wellness Grant

Merrimack County Savings Bank (the Merrimack) is excited to announce that Dunbarton Elementary School is the winner of its first “What’s not to ‘Like’?” Facebook Health and Wellness Grant Contest.

Early last fall, the Merrimack reached out to local school administrators and asked how they could benefit from an additional $3000 in resources to support wellness programs in their school(s). Participating school district submissions were posted on the Bank’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/themerrimack)between October 4 and November 18. During this time community members were encouraged to review the entries and vote for the proposal they felt was most deserving of a grant.


Dunbarton Elementary School won the contest with 898 votes. The grant proposal, submitted by school nurse Virginia Hast, RN details the school’s need for two bottle-filling water stations to replace existing water bubblers.

“This year’s 6th grade leadership team was excited to solicit votes for the Merrimack’s Health and Wellness Facebook challenge,” said Leann McCormack, 6th Grade Teacher at Dunbarton Elementary School. “To get the votes we needed to win, the leadership team was tasked with encouraging each student at the school to request five family members or friends to vote for our school’s proposal on Facebook. The leadership team even provided a sample calling script for each student to use when making the calls. As an incentive for completing the assignment, participants were rewarded with free bags of popcorn!”

The new bubblers will increase access to cold, filtered water and encourage hydration for students and staff throughout the school day. As one of the bubblers is being installed in the gym/cafeteria/community center, it will be available for the community to use during voting, town meetings, sporting events, dances and the many other community gatherings that take place at the school. Refilling bottles also encourages bottle reuse, which reduces waste and helps the environment.

Once the new filling stations are installed, the school hopes to run a “Hydration Challenge” for students and staff - a friendly competition to encourage everyone to drink enough water each day with prizes such as reusable water bottles.

“We were so grateful to have the opportunity to compete for this grant, and we’re overwhelmed by the show of support we received from our community members for Dunbarton’s wellness initiatives,” said Principal Owen Harrington. “Water is the best form of hydration for students. Providing them with this new, easily accessible and environmentally friendly option for refilling bottles will help us reduce waste and educate students about the importance of choosing water over sugary beverages.”

“Throughout the contest, we were so impressed by the passion for wellness in local schools and the many programs being offered to local children that encourage active and healthy lifestyles,” said Philip Emma, President of Merrimack County Savings Bank. “We are very excited to be able to bring this new resource to the Dunbarton Elementary School students, staff and community, and hope that they enjoy it for many years to come.”

In addition to the school district contest, community members that voted for their favorite school district also had the opportunity to enter for a chance to start their new year off with a Fitbit® Blaze Smart Fitness Watch. Sweepstakes winners included voters from Raymond, Dunbarton and Salisbury, NH, as well as Shrewsbury, MA.

The Merrimack wants to thank all of the school districts that participated as well as all the community members that supported their favorite local school district by voting.

Dunbarton Elementary School in Dunbarton, NH serves 215 students from Kindergarten through 6th grade. It is the mission of the school’s administrators, faculty and staff members to engage students actively in the learning process, to develop their skills in acquiring knowledge and to have them demonstrate and exhibit the ability to use knowledge in purposeful and measurable ways.

Merrimack County Savings Bank is celebrating its 150 year anniversary of serving the people, businesses, non-profits and municipalities of the greater Concord and Nashua regions since 1867. The Merrimack and its employees are guided and inspired by Merrimack style: living up to the values of accountability, mutuality, excellence, respect, integrity, teamwork and stewardship. To learn more, visit any of the local offices in Concord, Nashua, Bow, Contoocook or Hooksett, call 800.541.0006 or visit themerrimack.com.

Photo Caption (left to right):

Back row- Dean Cascadden, Dunbarton Elementary School Superintendent, Stephanie Andruss, AVP, Branch and Business Development Manager, Bow Office, Amy Mavris, Customer Experience Officer, Leann McCormack, Dunbarton Elementary School 6th Grade Teacher, Owen Harrington, Dunbarton Elementary School Principal, Lee Simons, Dunbarton Elementary School Custodian

Front row- Virginia Hast, RN, Dunbarton Elementary School Nurse, 6th Grade Leadership Students: Hazel Fredette, Emily Kiah, Rachel Pelletier, Alex Magdziasz, Brian Pollock, Ed Caron, Executive Vice President, Commercial Lending

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