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WEST VALLEY CITY — For Hunter High School junior Kaylee Duke, attending class is, quite literally, rewarding.
As part of a schoolwide push for improved attendance, Duke was gifted Tuesday with a 2001 Honda Accord at a special school assembly.
"This is my first car and I get my license in three weeks, so I'm just excited to start," she said.
Students were entered into a prize drawing for having perfect attendance from the first day of school until Oct. 4 or from Oct. 7 to Nov. 22. Students with flawless attendance during the entire school year were given two entries in the drawing.
Ten students were selected to spin a wheel for prizes, but it was Duke's spin that stopped on the lucky 10 that gave her first dibs on the car.
"I told my mom and she didn’t believe me," Duke said. "She was crying and she thought I was lying."
In addition to the 2001 Honda Accord, prizes included gift certificates, headphones and an iPad mini.
"We had several prizes," Hunter High School Principal John Welburn said. "We had the car that was donated by a generous donor for this activity."
Welburn said the school faculty has been looking for ways to promote attendance as part of a larger goal to increase graduation rates. He said the awards activity appears to have been a success since the number of students with perfect attendance doubled compared to last year.
"One of the things we know that needs to happen in order for students to learn is to be in class, so this program to actually improve attendance has been great," he said.
Hunter High's administration is planning on hosting a similar attendance challenge during the spring quarters, Welburn said, with or without the grand prize of an automobile.
"We hope to continue this program," he said. "We may not have another car donated but we will have prizes and we’ll do something similar to this."
Granite School District spokesman Ben Horsley said it's encouraging to see a school identifying a challenge, like low attendance, and working locally to improve it. He said those types of solutions are particularly effective at impacting and incentivizing students.
"We're just really supportive," he said. "It's nice to see some unique strategies to employ at the school level to address what their individual issues may be." Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: bjaminwood