Carrie Underwood may get to flit around onstage in shimmering gowns and attend swanky awards shows, but this Oklahoma girl who found her start on 'American Idol' is certainly not one to forget her roots. The world-famous singer brought smiles to the faces of school administrators across her hometown of Checotah, Okla. this holiday, as she made donations totaling $350,000.

Underwood has been giving back to Checotah for some time now through her C.A.T.S. (Checotah Animal, Town and School) Foundation. Most of her efforts have been focused on four schools in the area -- Marshall Elementary, Checotah Intermediate School, Checotah Middle School and Checotah High School -- where this generous donation will go toward needs like new computer labs, fitness equipment, band uniforms, instruments, storage, furniture and playground equipment.

According to a press release, Underwood says she's thrilled that the C.A.T.S. Foundation was able to provide for so many immediate needs. “It gives me great joy knowing we are helping my hometown schools to offer an even better education to the students," she says. "They deserve it.”

Last October, Underwood and her foundation also pitched in with the national organization KaBOOM and hundreds of local volunteers to build a student-designed playground for Marshall Elementary School.

“We are so proud of Carrie and her accomplishments, and we appreciate everything she has done for our students," says Assistant Superintendent of Checotah Public Schools Toni Brown. "Every student in our school will benefit from the C.A.T.S. Foundation’s generous donation."


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