A Cleburne High School student who has made coming to school a priority will find themselves behind the wheel of their very own Nissan Sentra on Friday.
Burleson Nissan/Burleson Honda and the Strive to Drive program will conduct the first Perfect Attendance Car Giveaway to take place at the campus during an afternoon student assembly. More than 250 students are eligible for the car giveaway, based on their attendance by six week periods, by semester and throughout the year. Thirteen Yellow Jackets have a total of 26 chances to have their names drawn, in maintaining perfect attendance since the first day of school.
“I’m very excited to have this incentive program available to our students,” Assistant Principal Dr. Chad Van Winkle said. Van Winkle oversees attendance at the campus and has worked with Strive to Drive officials in coordinating and promoting the incentive program.
“To have a car in good shape with low mileage available to our kids is wonderful,” he said. “Many of our students might not be able to afford a car of this quality. We are so grateful to Burleson Nissan/Burleson Honda and Strive to Drive in partnering together for our kids.”
Sponsorship of the perfect attendance program is particularly meaningful to Justin Crain, general manager of both dealerships. Crain is a 1998 Cleburne High School graduate. This is the second year Crain has sponsored a perfect attendance initiative for CISD teachers. Smith Middle School science teacher Andrea Ewell Allen has driven a Nissan throughout the school year as the drawing winner among those with perfect attendance in 2016-2017.
“We are pleased to be teaming up with Burleson Nissan, Burleson Honda and Justin Crain in focusing attention on attendance and its impact on academics,” Belinda Kelley of Strive to Drive said. “Research shows that consistent school attendance is directly linked to positive behavior, increased participation in extracurricular activities, higher grades and higher overall educational outcomes.”
The car giveaway was announced at the first pep rally of the school year, coinciding with the arrival of the car, which included a signing event with students covering the wrapped Sentra with their names.
“This has definitely had a positive impact on our kids,” Van Winkle said. “Coming to school is something every student is supposed to do and this is a tangible reward for that. They are excited. They’ve paid attention and monitored the perfect attendance list when we have posted it every six weeks. They’ve kept up with their attendance.”
“We are also excited to report that loss of course credit due to absence is down this year,” he said. “That’s the ultimate goal.”
Among the students with perfect attendance since day one is sophomore Allison Febinger, who is in the process of obtaining her driver’s license.
“It would be nice to get the car,” she said. “Knowing that was a possibility has kept me going on the days I didn’t get enough sleep or woke up in a bad mood. I’d think about the car and how I could win it--and I’d get up.”
“But I have also never seen the point of missing school,” Febinger said. “When you miss school, you miss out on learning. They say you should learn at least one new thing a day, but I like to learn at least two new things. I know my parents would be proud if I won the car—then they wouldn’t have to buy me one. And my dad really likes Nissans.”
John Paul Nguyen has had perfect attendance since his very first day of school.
“I’ve had perfect attendance all through school,” Nguyen said. “I’ve maybe gone home sick a few times, but I’ve never missed a whole day. If I miss school, I have to make up the work. I don’t like to have to catch up on my work or studies. I’d rather be current, or even ahead.”
“It used to be hard, but this has just become part of my daily routine,” he said. “It’s who I am. The chance to get the car is pretty cool, but not the only reason I’ve had perfect attendance. But this does make some kids strive to attend school and value their education more. I’m definitely proud of myself in being at school every day and being one of those with several chances to win.”
Cleburne High School’s top attendees also include Hailie Cochran, Shane Ebarb, Edwin Facundo, Jacob Fulton, Matthew Harman, Rudy Lopez, Joshua Morales and Sergio Moreno-Garcia, Alexona Benson, Nathaniel Butsch and Kevin Chavez.
The ten CHS students whose names are drawn will each receive a key and a turn behind the wheel to see who will ultimately start the engine and take home the car. The Strive to Drive program will cover the cost of tax, title and license of the vehicle. Gift cards of $100 will be presented to the nine runner-up participants.
“We do this with several area high schools, but to have the opportunity to do this at my high school is special,” Crain said. “This is something we have wanted to do in Cleburne and I am really looking forward to seeing a deserving Yellow Jacket win this car.”
The Strive to Drive program reports improved attendance by as much as eight percent in schools where they have sponsored car giveaways.
Cleburne High School junior Brett Hodges signs his name on the wrapped Nissan Sentra that will be given away Friday through the student attendance incentive program sponsored by Burleson Nissan/Burleson Honda and Strive to Drive. More than 250 CHS students have met the attendance criteria and earned the opportunity to win the car.