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Prizes are being offered to keep students in school

Televisions, videocassette recorders and other prizes are up for grabs at Nova High School for perfect attendance. The 100 Percent Club is the brainchild of assistant principal C. Dege Robertson, who watched as attendance fell from the 93 percent to 96 percent range to 88 percent last year.

"Families reward their children in one way or another, and maybe that's what we're doing," she said. "We're very excited about it."

The program starts Monday, the first day of the second quarter. Students with perfect attendance for the quarter can win movie tickets, cassettes and books.

The prizes will get bigger as the year goes on, and students without absences at the end of the school year will get the biggest gifts.

Robertson began soliciting donations from the community in a letter Oct. 18, asking for everything from ballgame tickets to compact disc players.

In a week, merchants and artists chipped in $422 in prizes, including a Polaroid camera, a Canon Sure-Shot and several works of art, Robertson said.

Dorothy Orr, executive assistant to Broward County School Superintendent Sam Morgan, said district policy allows the incentive program.

Hallandale High is about to begin "Master Charger" with awards of prom tickets, T-shirts, graduation night tickets, jackets and sweatsuits, and McArthur High in Hollywood is offering store discount cards, T-shirts and cap-and-gown reimbursement.

But Orr said she didn't know of any schools bestowing big-ticket items like Nova.

Student reaction is mixed.

"That's a pretty good incentive," said Andy Novak, a Nova junior. "I miss a lot of school, but I would try harder."

But senior Kim Harvey doesn't think the program will sell that well in the upper grades.

"It will keep the freshmen in school. It might not keep the seniors."