The Renaissance program at Thomson High School is moving into high gear.
McDuffie County Superintendent Mark Petersen and ValuTeachers Retirement Specialist Ronnie Beard look Wednesday at the car that a THS student will win this school year.
And when the 2006-2007 school year ends next May, one student will drive away in a car.
Three weeks ago, School Superintendent Mark Petersen talked with Russell Buice, the general manager of Stokes-Hodges, about donating a car for the Renaissance Program in the school system.
"I approached him ... and he said 'Yeah, we can do that,'" Dr. Petersen said. "That's pretty wild, isn't it? I think that's some great incentive for those high school kids."
Renaissance is a national program that promotes academic excellence and good character in students through rewards and incentives. The program, which involves local businesses and communities in the school system, was introduced in McDuffie County last year by Dr. Petersen.
This newest aspect of the program is dubbed "Where there's a wheel, there's a way." Dr. Petersen said students will be awarded tickets for academics, behavior, attendance, attitude and participation in extra-curricular activities through out the year. At the end of the year, a drawing will be held. The more tickets a student has earned, the greater their chance of winning.
"Whoever's ticket gets drawn, the keys are theirs and the car is theirs," the Superintendent said.
If students misbehave, Dr. Petersen said their tickets don't count, "so they've got to make some good choices throughout the year."
THS Principal Rudy Falana accepts the keys to the Pontiac Grand Am from Stokes-Hodges New Car Sales Manager David L. Pittman as Superintendent Mark Petersen looks on Wednesday.
Assistant Principal Lynn Cato said students and their parents will sign a contract to participate and earn a car. Ms. Cato said the offenses for a student to lose a ticket are state codes, such as fighting, bomb threats, forgery or larceny charges.
"Most of those things, kids don't do," she said.
But minor offenses can add up too. Ms. Cato said if a student receives three disciplinary referrals, such as skipping class, then they can lose their tickets. They also lose tickets for failing grades in a class.
The program was officially announced during Monday night's freshman orientation at Thomson High School.
"Your actions, your attitude and your attendance can add up to a car," Media Specialist Tammy Kay Brunson told audience members.
The car is a burgundy 2003 Grand Am.
"We are trying to become more community oriented, that's the purpose of what we are doing here," said Mr. Buice. "(Renaissance) is a good program. ... Any help (schools) can receive from outside businesses is a big help in today's world."
The car was delivered to the high school Wednesday and parked so students could get a daily reminder of the grand prize.
"It should be very exciting for everyone," said Thomson High School Principal Rudy Falana.