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It is a great time to be a high school student in the US - Schools in Virginia are paying students to do well in Advanced Placement tests and now one in Utah is showering them with gifts, just for showing up!
The latest initiative is the brainchild of the faculty from West Valley City's Hunter High School to try boost student attendance. Those that came to school every single day from October 7th - November 22nd, were eligible to have their names placed in a drawing, the winner of which would win a car. Students that not only came in every day, but also, attended every class, were allowed to enter their name twice.
When the results of the 'contest' were announced at the morning assembly on November 26th, there were about 1,200 entries in the bowl. School officials then randomly selected ten names and asked the lucky students to spin a wheel for prizes.
Kaylee Duke, the grand prize winner, took home a 2001 Honda Accord that was donated by a generous faculty member. Funnily enough, the junior does not even have her license yet, though she is planning on getting it soon. The other 'perfect attendees' did not go unrewarded for their efforts. They received prizes ranging from gift cards to headphones to even, an iPad mini - all because they showed up to school every day!
So why is the school doing this? To try encourage students to stay in school, for while the overall rate of attendance at Utah public schools is an astounding 95%, it is not as great for high schools, where about 13.5% students are chronically absent. Not surprisingly, a recent study done by University of Utah researchers discovered that those students have a much higher probability of dropping out of high school altogether.
And it seems like the incentives are working. According to Hunter High school officials, the number of students who haven't missed a day of school this year, is up 33%! In fact, they are so happy that they plan on offering a similar incentive in the Spring of next year and already have a car lined up for the grand prize - This one too, is going to be donated by an anonymous faculty member.
Resources: sltrib.com, heraldextra.com