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Go to class, win money, or even a new truck

Need wheels? Try going to school every day, starting Monday, and winning some. Four wheels, to be exact.

Crystal Motor Car Co. invites Citrus, Lecanto, Crystal River, and Withlacoochee Technical Institute high school students to attend school and win opportunities for cash and a Chevrolet Camaro or Dodge Dakota pickup.

Here's the deal: There will be four drawings for cash at each school throughout the year and a final drawing for the car on May 27, 2000.

The rules are: Students who miss four days or less the first nine weeks, according to the Citrus County School District attendance policy, will be entered into a drawing for a $25 cash prize. There will be four winners at each school.

The stakes go up the second nine weeks. Four students from each school missing four days or less by the end of the second quarter, counting days from Aug. 9 _ the absences are cumulative _ will be entered into a drawing for $50.

The third nine weeks drawing pays $75 and at the end of the year, those missing four days or less for what has now been the entire school year, who are picked in the drawing will win $100 each.

The drawings will be held on Oct. 15, Jan. 14, 2000, March 23, 2000, and May 23, 2000.

Now, about that vehicle. Students who have missed four days or less during the school year will be placed in a drawing for the car or truck. There will be one winner.

Students who had perfect attendance will be given eight entries. Those missing one day will be entered four times. Those missing two days will be entered three times, three missed days are good for two entries and those who miss four days will receive one entry for the wheels.

The "Wheels for Attendance" program got its start during a recent meeting of the Rotary Club of Inverness where Citrus High School principal Gary Foltz was speaking about school matters, including attendance.

After the meeting Jewel Lamb, who along with her husband, Steve Lamb, owns Crystal Motor Car Co., approached Foltz and asked how their company could help.

Out of that came the tangible incentive of cash and a car to motivate high school students to attend class.

"Through his speech I realized that the test scores were highly reflected by attendance," said Jewel Lamb, referring to the C rating Citrus High School received from from Gov. Jeb Bush' A+ plan.

Attendance, she explained, is important for several reasons, including state funding and its impact on the state school grading system.

Foltz could not be reached for comment on Friday.

The School District is also implementing a tough, new attendance policy this year and officials hope that this will encourage more students to make an extra effort to be in class more this coming school year, which begins today.