On May 11, nine graduating seniors from the Elk Grove Unified School District (EGUSD) were recognized for doing just that.
Each of the students had the opportunity to win the grand prize of $20,000 from the Elk Grove Auto Mall to be placed towards a brand new car of the winner’s choice; eight runners-up won $100 Visa gift cards.
The incentives are part of the Auto Mall’s annual Senior Attendance Drive; an event that honors graduating seniors in the school district who have at least five months of perfect attendance and at least a 2.0 GPA.
“Perfect attendance is great for school, but it’s also good for life,” said EGUSD Superintendent Dr. Steven Ladd, who hosted the event. “It is a solid foundation for our young people as they develop strong work habits that will prepare them for their future.”
Ladd mentioned that to embark on the importance of perfect attendance, the district started the “No excuses; go to school” campaign six years ago; one that gives incentives to students in grades K-12 for not missing a day of school.
The school district teamed up with the Elk Grove Auto Mall at the inception of the campaign to offer the attendance drive to graduating seniors.
Over the last six years, the event has garnered $120,000 for students in the community to be put towards their chosen automobile.
“A new car is certainly a motivating incentive,” Ladd said.
Nine graduating seniors along with their family, friends and principals gathered at the Auto Mall at 7 a.m.
Under the direction of Mike Manganon, the Cosumnes Oaks High School Drumline performed the entertainment that kept the early morning crowd tapping their toes as they awaited the presentation.
Each student was given a key to turn the ignition of a car; only one would start to signal the winner of the drive.
The accomplished, eager students took their stance awaiting their chance to turn the “winning key.”
“My dreams are what motivate me to have perfect attendance,”
She will be studying optometry at University of California, Santa Cruz after graduation.
“My mom has always reminded me about the importance of daily attendance in school,” Tran said.
Another senior who was chosen for the attendance drive is Sheldon High School student, Michaela Zuber; she also has not missed a day of high school.
“Getting good grades has motivated me to not miss a day of school,” she said. “I’ve always been a really competitive person and I hate falling behind.”
Zuber’s mother added, “ I’ve always told her if she doesn’t have a fever, she’s going to school.”
Sophia Yan of Franklin High School has held a perfect attendance record since she was in third grade.
“Even before I learned about the drive I didn’t like missing school,” she said. “I’ve always liked going and enjoyed being there with my friends,” she said.
Sophia mentioned that the first thing she would do if she won the top prize was take her parents for a drive.
But there was only one winning key that could be turned, and when all of the students stepped into their cars, sat down and turned their keys – it was the roaring motor of Krystal Prasad’s Toyota Scion that signaled her winning of the 2011/2012 Graduating Seniors Attendance Drive.
“I’m excited,” said the surprised Pleasant Grove High School student.
Smiling from ear-to-ear she stepped out of the car and was immediately approached by a proud family who shared hugs and many tears.
“In fourth grade, my dad challenged me to not miss a day of school…he said I couldn’t do it,” Krystal said of her motivation to not miss a day. “From then on I made it a point to prove him wrong.”
Krystal’s father, Sam added, “In kindergarten, I set a goal for her to not miss a day of school that year…as time progressed I continued on with the same goal.”
Krystal continued to accomplish her goal and in eighth grade her father promised her $100 if she could go on with perfect attendance - which she did; she has yet to miss a day of school.
“I’m so proud of her,” Sam said with tears in his eyes.
Maggie Tadlock, president of the Elk Grove Auto Mall Association and owner of Elk Grove Honda, noted the achievements at hand.
“Going to school every single day will help to promote the type of person these students become in life…this is just the beginning,” she said. “I know it’s tough - especially in the senior year - for these students to do what they did…we are very proud of them.”