March is not only reserved for the madness on the basketball court, but it’s also for one Valley school.
A Kerman High School counselor is taking a different approach on getting students to come to class.
But in order for a student to make a run for the ultimate prize, they must become perfect in attendance and this year’s prize is a pretty big one.
It’s probably what every teenager in high school dreams of, after getting their license, getting their own car.
“It’s just really cool to have something,” says Jiselle Cardenas, a junior at Kerman High School.
That something, could be this 2012 Toyota Camry.
A free car, for the first time, will be raffled off in a drawing to any student grades nine through 12 who receives perfect attendance.
If you don’t have a license, then the school will offer the car to your parents. So, it’s a win-win for the entire family.
And even though education is the real reward, students say getting a car is an “A+” bonus.
“When you come to school everyday, it’s a routine thing, you might get bored and stuff but at least sometimes there might be a reward,” says Cardenas.
This incentive is just one of many thought of by school staff to encourage students to attend school, rather than be absent.
“Yeah, kids have to be here it’s their job but why not encourage them by giving incentives like a car,” says Alfonso Pacheco, a counselor with Kerman High School.
Robert Frausto, Kerman Unified’s Superintendent says it’s working, especially on the chronically absentee students.
He says two years ago they had the highest daily attendance in Fresno County and they want to keep that going.
“This year, we’re about 97.5 percent average daily attendance, a few years ago we were 95, 94, and obviously we want to see that percentage go up because it generates more money for the school district which you can use for students,” says Frausto.
But attendance isn’t the only concern, it’s tardiness too.
So, Pacheco created a March Madness Bracket, using teachers as teams, which ever classroom wins will receive an All-You-Can-Eat taco party, second place gets pizza.
Pacheco says seeing students excited about coming to school brings joy to him, “Sometimes it’s emotional because some kids come to me and say hey I didn’t know you cared, so you know when they tell you that, that’s your paycheck.”
The taco and pizza party is expected to take place the first week of May.
As for the car, Pacheco says out of 1,500 students, they have a little more than 300 still in the running to win it.
He says the car will be raffled off on Graduation Day.