Flying high

boys who won plane ride sitting in plane

Last month, success coaches in Mason County and River Rouge helped to offer some fairly big, shiny prizes– new bicycles and free plane rides – as incentives to reduce absenteeism.

On June 8, 100 Mason County students took to the air at Ludington Airport after winning a free plane ride for having perfect school attendance in May. Lianna Doerr, community resources coordinator for Mason and Oceana counties, was able to secure a donation from the Mason County Pilots Association, Experimental Aircraft Association, Chapter 772, to provide the free plane rides. MDHHS’s Pathways to Potential program helped coordinate the effort for the students in Ludington’s OJ DeJonge Middle School, Mason County Central High School and Mason County Eastern Elementary.

Pathways to Potential success coaches helping to coordinate the event were Allison Hanson and Stephanie Molina – Hanson covers the middle school, and Molina covers the elementary and high school. They worked directly with students and families, checking in students and families and monitoring lines for the plane rides, and Doerr assisted. Pamela Wells, Family Independence Manager for Mason and Oceana counties, did the cooking and food service, which included hot dogs on the grill, pop, water, chips and small candy bars.

The students were selected by a drawing from a pool of students who had no unexcused absences, tardiness or missed assignments during May.  Here are two of the lucky bike winners in River Rouge.

In River Rouge, Houda Fawaz, a success coach with C.B. Sabbath Middle School, awarded four brand new 24- inch mountain bikes and safety helmets to four students who had perfect attendance for the year and had no behavioral issues; because there were five eligible kids, the four winners were selected by raffle.

Fawaz raised the money to purchase the bicycles from several Target Stores in the area, and she displayed the bikes last fall in her office, explaining the rules of the contents to parents or students who entered. One parent told Fawaz that the gleam of a new bicycle encouraged her son to never miss a day of school.

The winners recently received their prizes during a school assembly, and it’s Fawaz’ hope to make the awards an annual event. Congratulations to those involved in both these efforts for encouraging excellence among our Michigan students.