LaGrange, Ga., August 18, 2017 – As Troup County School System (TCSS) new attendance policy builds momentum, some schools and community partners have found a ‘vehicle’ to encourage students to be on time, in attendance, and have positive behavior.
Today, Troup County Comprehensive High School (THS) announced a partnership with KIA of La-Grange to give away a car at the end of the school year. The winning student must have good grades, good attendance, and good behavior.
In the beginning, THS Principal Dennis ‘Chip’Medders did not know how the Liechty family, owners of the car dealership, were going to react to his request for a good used car. When he did not hear from them within two weeks, he thought the request was going to be denied. To his surprise, he received a call from Shea Liechty and her husband, Jesse, stating they wanted to do something better – provide a new 2017 KIA Rio for the winning student.
Medders stated this big prize ties into the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) system the school adopted last school year. He says it is designed to instill positive core values in students to help them succeed. He notes the program provides administrators and school personnel with behavior data that supports positive interventions as opposed to punitive punishments.
According to Medders, student referrals cannot result in suspensions or they are disqualified from the drawing. He said, “Winning a car isn’t a small prize so there are big goals that students have to reach to win. We are going to have checkpoints throughout the school year and research our data to see who has positive behavior, good grades and a good attendance record. Students have up to 16 chances to be entered into a drawing to win the KIA Rio.”
Those chances are based on attendance, behavior, and grades said Medders. Data for the three TCSS high schools show that the percentage of high school students who missed seven or more days unexcused were:
• 31 percent of LaGrange High students missed seven or more days unexcused.
• 36 percent ofTroup High students missed seven or more days unexcused.
• 40 percent of Callaway High students missed seven or more days unexcused.
After researching this data for THS, he said, “This (attendance) is a big initiative school system wide. We noticed there are gaps in attendance and we want to help students be successful. It will be hard for them to do that if they are not here.”
As Liechty opened the door to show students the features inside of the vehicle, she said, “We believe in supporting the community, and one way to do that is through our partnership with Troup High School. We have supported the school in other ways, so we thought it would be a good way to help the kids have a great experience if they had the possibility to win a car,” said Liechty.
She noted many of the THS students have parents who work at KIA in West Point, and her own daughter is a junior at the school. As for how they chose the white Rio as the car for the giveaway, she stated, “It has great gas mileage and there are many safety features that are good for a student. It is one of our more popular vehicles.”
Now, the two additional TCSS high schools, Callaway and LaGrange, are looking to follow suit as they have recently found partners who will be providing vehicles for a winning student. Details are still being developed and those announcements will be coming in the following weeks.
Meanwhile, the THS student body showed great excitement at a pep rally the same day of the announcement. Many were excited about the possibility of winning a new car. They note many of their friends have said they will be coming to school every day because they want to win the KIA. They also said they appreciate KIA of LaGrange because it shows they care about the students and future of the community.