Island GM will donate $5,000 towards the purchase of a car for a graduating student in School District 79 with a good attendance record this year.
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.
He said the students who will be considered for the $5,000 donation are those who maintain a minimum of 80 per cent attendance in all their classes through the school year.
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.
“In many cases, the students are not treating school as seriously as they should,” he said.
“Many come in late and leave early to go to jobs. School seems to be low on their list and we don’t think they are making the right choices.”
Hall said he began visiting car dealerships in the Valley to discuss his idea, and Island GM decided they wanted to participate almost as soon as he discussed the details of his plan.
Dealership owner Randy Westlake said one of his goals is to strengthen community ties and to give something back.
“As well, the graduating class are students who will be tomorrow’s leaders and business owners and we want to support them,” he said.
“We were talking amongst ourselves at the dealership also and found that some of us were not so great at attending all our classes when we were in high school, and we figured that if we had an incentive like this, we would have probably gone to class more often.”
Hall said all attendance records for each class in schools across the province are now kept everyday and filed electronically, so checking the attendance rates of each student at year’s end will not be difficult.
He said there will be two draws to determine who gets the money for the car; one to pick which one of the district’s five secondary school campuses that the winner will be chosen from, and the second draw to pick the student.
“We’ll be announcing this at each of the secondary schools over the next week,” he said.
“It’s still early in the school year and some of the students are still not settled in their classes yet, so the attendance records that we’ll be checking at the end of the year will begin as of Oct. 1.”