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updated: 4/1/2014 11:14 AM

District 214 launches Twitter contest among schools

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Northwest Suburban High School District 214 is pitting its six high schools and three alternative programs against one another in a Twitter tournament.

The two-week contest is part of an effort to engage students, staff, alumni and the community with the district's social media accounts and gain more followers, said Erin Brooks, assistant director of community engagement and outreach. The contest runs until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, April 11.

"We talk about being relevant in schools," Brooks said. "Social media is where people are right now. The conversation is already happening there."

Under the contest rules, each school gets one point for every new follower and one point for every retweet of original content. At the end of the contest, the team with the most points wins, Brooks said. So far, Wheeling High School is in the lead.

The winning school will receive a trophy and about 2,000 vouchers for students and staff to get free ice cream at Capannari Ice Cream in Mount Prospect, which will also name a flavor in honor of the winning school.

"We want to widely establish social media as a reliable and effective engagement tool districtwide, and gain followers along the way," Brooks said.

Brooks said the districtwide account, @District214, has grown its following by more than 170 percent since July.

Twitter accounts at each school are often run by an assistant principal and include tweets about everything from live updates when the Rolling Meadows girls basketball team went to the state championship and photos of students from Buffalo Grove High traveling overseas during their spring break.

"It's really become this window into the great things we're doing at our schools," Brooks said.

The official competing school accounts are: @BG_Bison for Buffalo Grove High School; @ElkGrove_HS for Elk Grove High School; @HerseyHuskies for John Hersey High School; @KnightsofPHS for Prospect High School; @RMHSMustangs for Rolling Meadows High School; and @Wheeling_Cats for Wheeling High School. The District's alternative programs, @D214Vipers for Vanguard School; @FVFalcons for Forest View Alternative School; and @214Newcomer for Newcomer Center, will compete as one unit.

The contest hashtag is #214GetSocial.

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