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Country Diva Jo Dee Messina Wants Your Autograph

Sep 15, 2005

OAK BROOK, Ill., - September 15, 2005 - Country Music Association and Grammy award-winning music star Jo Dee Messina turns the table on her fans today, as she joins Sharpie in a nationwide search for one million autographs. In a twist on the autograph experience, Messina lends her signature purple Sharpie Retractable marker to the students at her former elementary school in Boston, requesting their autographs. In exchange for the signatures she collects, Sharpie will donate $10,000 in funding and supplies to the school district, as part of the national Sharpie Retractable "Autographs for Education" program.



"Growing up in Boston, I benefited from my schools' music education programs and now I want to give something back - especially as funding for these programs are often first to get cut," Messina said. "That's why I'm thrilled to be involved with Sharpie's Autographs for Education campaign. I use Sharpies every day - a simple click and an autograph will get us that much closer to the goal which will help provide kids with the tools they need to succeed."



Messina's visit to her old stomping grounds will benefit music education budgets for the 2005-2006 school year. Her weekend at home starts early today at Miller Elementary, where she'll host a special school assembly and autograph session with more than 600 students and their teachers. On Saturday, students, teachers, fans and community members will also enjoy a concert to benefit the school district's music program at Holliston High School.

"We're thrilled to have Jo Dee back in town and bringing the Sharpie Autographs for Education program to our school," said David Keim, principal of Holliston School District's Fred W. Miller Elementary School. "It's great to know that our hometown heroes want to come back home again, and brands like Sharpie see the value in giving back to education. We're grateful for the benefits this donation will bring to our students and staff."

Messina's Boston visit to her former elementary school marks the eighth stop on the 10-city "Autographs for Education" tour. Communities nationwide have a chance to get school supplies for their school, just by signing their autograph to the program at sharpie.com. The tour's next stop is Chicago, home of Sharpie markers.

"We've visited some great communities this year," said Rory Leyden, president of Sharpie. "We're fortunate to have a number of high-profile personalities like Jo Dee who have put their autograph on education by motivating the students, faculty and community, and delivering thousands of dollars worth of school supplies and funds."



Sharpie's "Autographs for Education" tour kicked off earlier this year in Jacksonville, Fla., and then moved on to Las Vegas, Baltimore, Bristol, Tenn., Milwaukee, Dallas, Detroit and now Boston. The tour rounds out the year with Chicago and Miami. Throughout the remainder of the year, a fleet of Sharpie-branded all-terrain vehicles will continue to stop at local festivals and special events across the country. The vehicles feature interactive games, product sampling opportunities, and official entry forms for the signature collection effort. Complete sweepstakes rules and entry methods 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 touchdown celebration in 2002, Sharpie's 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 Famers Howie Long and Dan Dierdorf, Baltimore's Brian Roberts, PGA TOUR standout Chad Campbell, Philadelphia's Terrell Owens, Pittsburgh's Hines Ward, Green Bay's Donald Driver, Denver's Rod Smith, Detroit's Jason Hanson, Kansas City's Tony Gonzalez, Seattle's Grant Wistrom, and Minnesota'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 twelve colors: black, red, blue, green, orange, berry, lime, turquoise, aqua, navy, plum and purple. The suggested retail price for 2-, 3-, 4-, 8- and 12-packs are $4.89, $7.33, $9.78, $19.56 and $29.33, 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