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Sharpie® Retractable Teams Up With Nextel Cup Champion Kurt Busch To Bring Nationwide "Autographs For Education" Program To Las Vegas

Mar 10, 2005

LAS VEGAS - Las Vegas native Kurt Busch is asking for students' autographs from his former middle school today, in exchange for $10,000 in school supplies and funds to the school.  Kenny C. Guinn Middle School, with its 1,300 students, is among a number of schools benefiting from Sharpie's commitment to award $1 million in supplies and funds nationally through its Sharpie Retractable "Autographs for Education" program in 2005. Sharpie, the popular brand of permanent markers widely known for the autograph experience, is enlisting the support of celebrities and professional athletes like Busch to interact with schools and community-based education organizations across the country. Busch, in addition to others throughout the year, are hosting special assemblies to educate students, teachers and parents of the opportunity to vie for thousands of dollars worth of school supplies and the opportunity to contend for college scholarships.

As the Sharpie Retractable "Autographs for Education" tour stops in Las Vegas, Busch is inviting the students in his hometown to autograph the No. 97 Sharpie Ford.  The signatures will become a permanent part of a special paint scheme when he races in Bristol, Tenn., at his "home away from home" on April 3, where he has won four out of the last six races.

"I've signed autographs ever since I first started racing in Las Vegas," said Busch.  "Sharpie and I are now asking everyday people for their autographs to exchange them for the supplies and funds that schools and students can really use.  It's great to come back to Guinn and get the students and teachers involved in the program."

Sharpie is elevating its pledge to the nation's schools throughout 2005, recognizing essential needs resulting from funding challenges schools face. 

"This year's program is the most comprehensive community effort in the brand's more than 40-year history," said Rory Leyden, president of Sharpie.   "Although we have executed this program on a local level since 2003, we've broadened its reach this year in terms of the dollar amount donated and the addition of college scholarships.  We're certain we'll reach the million mark for autographs because of partners like Kurt Busch."

"On behalf of our faculty, students and parents, I thank Sharpie and Kurt for this generous donation," said Georgia Taton, principal of Kenny C. Guinn Middle School.  "Our school, just like our city, has changed a lot since Kurt was a student here.   We've grown, and in many instances, we're expected to do more with less.  When it comes to classroom supplies, our teachers and parents do what the rest of Americans do:  use their own money to buy the things our children's classrooms need.  Thanks to Sharpie, all of our classroom closets will be stocked for a while!"

Sharpie Retractable's commitment to Autographs for Education also includes online resources for teachers and fun for students, including free lesson plans and a virtual autograph wall.  In the community, Sharpie's Autographs for Education tour will criss-cross the country in a fleet of Sharpie-branded all-terrain vehicles throughout 2005, stopping at local festivals and special events.  The vehicles feature interactive games, product sampling opportunities, and official entry forms for the signature collection effort.  Complete entry methods for the signature collection effort can be found at retailers nationwide and at www.sharpie.com.

Inspired after a Sharpie marker was featured in a high-profile and somewhat controversial professional touchdown celebration in 2002, the Sharpie Retractable Autographs for Education program has been bringing motivation, funds and school supplies to students, teachers and parents for two years.  Since its inception, Sharpie Autographs for Education personalities have included NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champion Kurt Busch, NFL Hall of Famer and broadcaster Howie Long, Philadelphia's Terrell Owens, Pittsburgh's Hines Ward, Green Bay's Donald Driver, Denver's Rod Smith Kansas City's Tony Gonzalez, Seattle's Grant Wistrom, and Tampa's Brad Johnson, among others.

About Sharpie Retractable

With a retractable writing tip and no caps to lose, Sharpie markers are now easier and more convenient to use.  Sharpie Retractable is available in eight colors: black, red, blue, green, orange, berry, lime and turquoise.  The suggested retail price for 2-, 3-, 4-, and 8-packs are $4.89, $7.33, $9.78, and $19.56, respectively.  Available at office supply stores and other retailers nationwide, Sharpie Retractable joins other significant writing innovations that target a wide range of enthusiasts from the hobbyist to the do-it-yourselfer.

About Sanford®, Makers of Sharpie®

For more than 40 years, Sharpie is the popular brand of permanent markers long-associated with the autograph experience.  Sanford, maker of Sharpie, is a division of Newell Rubbermaid Inc. (NYSE: NWL), a worldwide leader in the manufacturing and marketing of writing instruments, art products and office organization, including such well known brands as Paper Mate®, Sharpie®, Parker®, Waterman®, EXPO®, Foohy®, uni-ball®, and Rolodex®, among others. Sanford makes more than 6,000 products, ranging from markers, pens and pencils to professional art products, fine writing instruments and office organization products. Visit sharpie.com or sanfordcorp.com for more information.

For more information contact Susan Wassel at 630-481-2018, or email media.relations@sanfordcorp.com