Remember when they told you good things happen to kids who don’t skip school?
About a dozen Vancouver Island students learned that lesson the hard way last week after being absent cost them a shot at a new car.
More than 200 Cowichan Secondary School students in Duncan were eligible for a $5,000 cheque towards a new car in a school attendance promotion sponsored by Island GM.
The draw was open to Grade 12 students from the school who attended more than 80 per cent of their classes through the school year. But the fine print said that the chosen student had to be in attendance to win.
With the school year in its waning days, event organizers had to pull a dozen names before Jared Lammi, finally was declared the winner.
Don Hall, a retired teacher who is currently working as a teacher-on-call in the district, came up with the idea after seeing a story of another school doing it on CBC several years ago.
He said Cowichan Secondary School was randomly chosen out of the Cowichan Valley’s five secondary schools for this year’s attendance competition, and the school’s Grade 12 students were informed early in the school year that keeping good attendance this year could lead to them receiving $5,000 towards a car.
Hall said one problem he and other teachers see more commonly among the district’s senior students is that as they get older, they become more autonomous and will do what they choose.
“Many students begin to blow off classes to go to the beach, a job, or some other thing and they don’t realize that all these short-term absences add up and it affects their marks, future options in education and other opportunities that may arise,” he said.
“We’re trying to promote attendance and help make students more conscious of how important school is for their futures.”
Stacey Westlake, who owns Island GM along with her husband Randy, was on hand to pick the name and hand the cheque to Lammi.
She said the dealership got involved with the attendance competition because it understands the importance of education and wanted to help at least one student meet their goals of heading to university or college without having to take out a large loan to buy a car.
“We’re a community-based dealership and we’re always looking for ways to give back to the community,” Westlake said.
“We’re going to continue to do this on an annual basis.”
But there was one more twist: Lammi, 18, doesn’t drive.
“I guess I’m excited, but I have mixed feelings,” Lammi said when he was handed the super-sized $5,000 cheque by Island GM officials. “I don’t have a driver’s licence and never gave much thought to getting one, so I’m not sure what to do with this.”
After discussions with the family, Island GM has decided to allow Lammi to use the $5,000 to further his education.