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Peavey Electronics introduced the nation's first "Afterschool Is Key" specialty car tag to support afterschool programs — and awarded one talented teenager with a pro recording session — at its annual Lights On Afterschool extravaganza, held Oct. 16 in its hometown of Meridian, Miss.

Lights On Afterschool is a nationwide rally that emphasizes the importance of keeping lights on and doors open at afterschool programs. Each year, Peavey invites hundreds of children from afterschool programs to the prestigious MSU Riley Center for Education and the Performing Arts for the celebration. Since 2005 that event has included the Peavey Afterschool (Not) Idle™ youth singing competition.

Developed by Peavey to coincide with Lights On Afterschool, Afterschool (Not) Idle helps foster kids' talent and creativity and rewards their hard work. During yesterday's event, a panel of judges that included Carl Nappa — a music producer whose credits include Nelly, *NSYNC and Mariah Carey — awarded young singer Alex Goldman with a recording session that will help further his singing career.

"Mississippi has provided fertile ground for generations of talented musicians," said Mary Peavey, President of Peavey Electronics and member of the national Afterschool Alliance's Board of Directors. "The Peavey 'Afterschool (Not) Idle' program provides a spark for these students' creative development while drawing attention to the importance of afterschool programs."

Surprise celebrity sightings have become a highlight of the Peavey-presented Lights On Afterschool event. This year, Atlantic Records artist Cupid entertained the crowd with his hit song "Cupid Shuffle." Entertainers like Bo Bice, Southern rocker and star of the TV phenomenon "American Idol," have joined the celebration in previous years.

Added Peavey, "We worked hard to make Mississippi the first state in the nation to offer the 'Afterschool Is Key' specialty car tag, which benefits afterschool programs in the state. I'm excited to say that the tags are available now! We encourage all Mississippi drivers to give our kids the 'keys' to success by purchasing this special tag."

At Peavey's request, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour issued a proclamation to declare Oct. 16, 2008 "Lights On Afterschool Day" across the state.

More than a million people rallied for afterschool this year at some 7,500 Lights On Afterschool events around the country. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger served as National Chair of Lights On Afterschool again this year, a position he has held since 2001. More information is available at http://www.afterschoolms.org/ and http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/

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