A total of six lucky Columbia Heights students won a bike for attending school every day in the first six weeks of school at a perfect attendance rally on Oct. 13.
According to Columbia Heights Principal Santos Flores, the bikes are usually given away at the end of the year, but since attendance is usually lower in the first six weeks of school, they decided to have a big incentive at the beginning of the academic year.
“In previous years, our attendance was at about 95 percent the first six weeks of school, and it’s very hard to overcome that,” Flores explained. “We had to do something.”
This year, they inched up to an attendance average of nearly 97 percent. The students were greeted every morning with a reminder that being at school every day counts and that there would be an opportunity to win a brand-new bike.
Students were ecstatic during the rally and cheered on their peers with perfect attendance who were lucky enough to get their names selected for a new bike.
Second grade student Destiny Saucedo could barely contain her excitement when she heard her name. She carefully let her fingers run through the bike tassels in disbelief and couldn’t stop smiling at her Frozen themed bike.
“It’s so beautiful and perfect,” Destiny said. “I had a bike but it’s broken, I’m so happy I won.”
After the rally, her friends gathered around her to check out her new toy.
Flores hopes that the rally will motivate students to come to school every day.
The school will host another perfect attendance pep rally the next six weeks in which students will have the opportunity to win 25 board games. Moreover, students will have another opportunity to win a bike at the final perfect attendance rally.
Students who were chronically absent the first six weeks will be paired up with mentors. These mentors are teachers, head custodians, cafeteria managers who will meet with students two to three times a week to thank them for coming to school and to give them little incentives.
“If we’re trying to teach college-readiness skills, attendance is crucial because we are teaching them to be responsible, reliable and dependable,” Flores said. “It’s not about being here every day to get the incentive, but learning that if you’re here every day, as you get older, they are going to call them reliable and that is going to get them further in life.”