JEFFERSON — At Jefferson High School, it pays for students to do well in the classroom.
For the seventh year, school officials continue the Commitment to Excellence program in which students can earn a card good for community discounts and other benefits.
"I think this is a really positive program. Every year we tweak the rewards and benefits just a bit to continue making it meaningful to the kids," said Kevin Smith, Jefferson High principal. "We do a good job acknowledging athletic accomplishments, but I don’t think we do enough to recognize academic achievement. So this is a way to help us recognize those students who are doing well academically."
Three different cards are offered to students, each with specific requirements. Getting better grades is rewarded with a card with more benefits.
Card recipients can’t have an F in any class, more than six absences, or discipline referrals that result in Saturday school or suspension. The white card is awarded to students with at least a C average, the red card is for a B average and the blue card is for an A average.
The Hall County School System has a similar program, in which students can earn a Renaissance card for good behavior coupled with academic achievement.
Other than discounts at area restaurants, card recipients also get free admission to Jefferson High athletic events, reimbursement for the ACT or SAT and up to one free day of independent study. Also, students earning six cards get a special Jefferson High watch during honors night of their senior year.
"This year, 475 of our 692 students received a card. That’s the most we’ve ever had," said Smith. "Our goal is for every student to earn a card."
During an awards ceremony Tuesday, students were presented with their newly earned cards. The cards are only good for a single semester instead of a full school year to encourage students to keep up the good work.
"This is the second card that I’ve gotten," said Danielle Davis, a sophomore at the school. "I’ve always made pretty good grades, but this is a good motivator to keep doing well."
Both of Davis’ parents, Harrison and Tammy Perry, attended the ceremony to watch her and her brother, Bruce Perry, receive their cards.
"We’re so proud of both of them," said Tammy Perry. "This is definitely a great program because it helps keep them motivated and it gives them a goal to work towards."