News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Car giveaway sends right message to students, parents

Only two students in Yuma, Ariz., will win new cars in a promotion sponsored by an area dealership.

But all students can benefit from the promotion, designed to motivate students to finish high school.

Fisher Chevrolet began its "Cool to Stay in School" program by giving away a Chevrolet Cavalier at the end of the 2004-05 school year. Next spring, the dealership will give away a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt and a 2006 Dodge Caliber.

A student must have a perfect attendance record to be eligible for the end-of-year raffle.

"The car is a motivation because I really want one, especially if it's new," said Janeth Maldonado, a junior at San Luis High School in Yuma. She said the chance to win a car isn't the only reason she attends school every day, but it helps. "I feel that if I miss classes, I'm going to start getting low grades."

The promotion motivates students to attend classes each day, a key to maintaining good grades. A good, basic education should be enough of an incentive, but teenagers tend to be more absorbed in the here and now. A chance to win a new car certainly grabs their interest.

Equally important, the promotion motivates parents to stay on top of their children's attendance and provides an extra incentive for them to take an interest in their children's education. A chance to save the expense of a car excites parents almost as much as it does their children.

The program is an excellent example of an innovative public-private partnership that motivates students and parents to make the most of the educational opportunity.

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