I enjoy writing about the local school system Renaissance Program. One of the perks of the program is that Stokes Hodges Car dealership donated a car last year and this year to be given to a student through a drawing. There are various ways students earn their chances to be in the drawing. Last year, a Pontiac Grand Am was given to a freshman. This year, a Ford Mustang is up for grabs. I love Mustangs, whether they are new, old or somewhere in between. I love covering car shows for the newspaper, where I get to admire all the restored classic Mustangs. It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it.
But I decided I must be in the wrong profession after seeing a recent edition of The Augusta Chronicle. It seems the McDuffie School System isn't the only one giving away cars. The Richmond County Teacher of the Year received a 2008 Toyota Camry SE, which was donated by Toyota of Augusta.
Whether one is a student or a teacher, it seems the school system has perks much bigger than journalism. Okay, occasionally we get to meet a famous person, or cover a fun event. But to my knowledge, no car dealer has ever offered to give us a vehicle, no matter how great a deal we offer them on advertising. I'm not ready to change professions, though.
Covering any story requires showing all sides of that story. It gets amusing to hear people's comments. Especially when their's is the exact opposite of whoever I interview five minutes before. It's enough to make me smile.
Which takes me back to the Renaissance Program. There is no doubt that the school children love it with prizes ranging from free cokes and ice cream to big-screened TVs and cars.
I've heard comments from both sides of the adult view-point, too. The pro's say the program works. Principals report a noticeable increase in grades and attendance and an equally noticeable decrease in disciplinary problems. And I can't argue with the numbers.
The con's say the school system is spoiling the kids. After all, the Biscuit Bandit doesn't visit and reward any of us for showing up to work on time. They're handing out rewards for what should be routine behavior. Again, I can't argue. But I can disagree. (Hey, I'm a woman. It's my prerogative.)
A few weeks back, the Chamber of Commerce sponsored a Pickle Workshop that stressed the importance of good attitude in business. Is this not what Renaissance is promoting - a good attitude? How many of us would grumble less if we received some appreciation for the every day things we do? This gives me food for thought, which means I need a visit from the Biscuit Bandit.