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Gate City freshman wins car for perfect attendance

Holly Viers • May 23, 2019 at 5:00 PM

GATE CITY — Kennedy Garrett got a big surprise Thursday morning.

Garrett, a freshman at Gate City High School, won a 2014 Ford Focus as part of a drawing for students with perfect attendance. Though she doesn’t yet have her driver’s license, Garrett feels thankful to have a car at her age.

“It’s amazing, and I feel very honored and blessed to be the one to have gotten this, and very privileged,” Garrett said. “I don’t know what to think. It’s crazy.”

About the giveaway

Melissa Seaver, an English teacher and attendance committee member at the school, said the idea for a car giveaway came about as school leaders were brainstorming ways to increase attendance.

Fairway Ford of Kingsport provided the car, along with four $500 college scholarships for seniors. Seaver said these incentives boosted school attendance to 95 percent, and 56 students maintained perfect attendance all year.

Winning the car

Students were entered into the drawing based on their attendance in each of the four nine-week quarters, Seaver said. Students received one entry for every nine weeks they had perfect attendance, and those with perfect attendance all year got an additional entry.

In addition to the car, the Wadlow Gap Ruritan Club contributed $600 for taxes, tag and title expenses. More than 1,000 names were entered in the drawing, as some students had multiple entries.

“Students had to be present, they had to stay under five tardies and five early dismissals, and they got their name entered,” Seaver said. “Each nine weeks, it started over for them. … We had a lot of students who really worked hard to try to win this car.”

What’s next?

Seaver said school leaders hope to secure a sponsor for the car giveaway and scholarships again next year. The school also plans to continue offering other attendance incentives, like cash prizes and gift cards.

“We plan on continuing cash drawings,” Seaver said. “We were able to offer athletic event passes to students who had perfect attendance per quarter and just some things to continue that encouragement.”

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